Towson holds off North Harford to claim third straight title, 9-8

May 26, 1994|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Sun Staff Writer

For the second year in a row, a Harford County team gave an undefeated Towson team its best game of the season, and for the second year in a row the Generals were equal to the challenge.

Last night at UMBC Stadium, Ned Boyd scored unassisted with five minutes left in the game and Towson eked out a 9-8 victory over North Harford in the state Class 1A-2A championship game.

The victory for coach Randy Dase and his team was No. 15 on the season and stretched the school's winning streak to 44 games. In the process Towson claimed its third successive state title.

No more than two goals separated the two teams all night, as Towson, which had outscored its previous 14 opponents by an average of 14.5 to 3, got its most severe challenge.

In the end, it was Chi-Chi Giraldo with three goals (all in the third quarter) who provided the offensive surge for the winners.

At the other end, it was North Harford's outstanding goalkeeper, Kevin Bandy, who kept his side in contention.

Bandy, a sophomore and two-year starter, finished with 18 saves, second in tournament history (since 1990) only to the 22 by Fallston's Jamie Auer in last year's 9-7 championship-game loss to Towson.

"Chi-Chi was the key for us, but the difference was their keeper," Dase said. "Shot after shot, off the glove, off the stick, he did the job. We were up two [7-5, less than two minutes into the third quarter], and had a one-on-one and he stopped it. We were looking to go up three and break it open, but it didn't happen."

Instead, North Harford, which had scored the game's first two goals, came back on another two-goal burst on shots by Jason Bellamy and Jon Wright to get a tie at 7. Giraldo's third goal made it 8-7 going to the last quarter.

The Hawks got their fifth and final tie when Mike Murray beat the Generals in transition, and fed Bellamy for a successful shot past Towson keeper Mark Tamberino.

Bellamy, a senior who had five of his team's first eight goals in a 10-7 semifinal win over Oakland Mills, led North Harford with two goals and three assists. Senior Jon Wright added two goals and an assist.

"We wanted to be right there in the fourth quarter and we were," said coach John Grubb, who took previous North Harford teams to a state title in 1990 and the title round in 1991. "We thought we could move the ball, but our main goal was to slow down their transition. I thought we rose to the occasion and played up a level."

Giraldo praised his two classmates, scoring leaders Spencer Ford (one goal, one assist) and Dan Ross (three goals, two assists), saying, "They gave me the shots. We've been playing together since we were sophomores, and I had a chance to step up, and I did it."

Ford, an agile midfielder who complements the solidly built Ross (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), pointed out that Dase had recorded everything North Harford had done on poster boards, and the team practices prepared them for it.

They might not have been prepared for the quick-striking Hawks, who got a goal from Keith Smith off the opening faceoff, and another from Mike Murray 30 seconds later.

A Towson timeout seemed to settle the team down, and as Ford said, "After those first two, we knew what they were going to do and could defend it."

After Boyd's tie-breaking goal, North Harford got possession, but turned the ball over on an illegal procedure call with three minutes left.

Inside of the final minute, Tamberino made a save on a Tom Staab shot, and after a save by Bandy, the Hawks threw the ball away on their final possession.

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