Hofstra gets started with 13-12 victory over Towson Miller's 5 goals, 2 assists spark Flying Dutchmen

March 04, 1996|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Blake Miller had several unresolved questions entering his senior season at Hofstra. The Flying Dutchmen had hired a new offensive coach and were relying heavily on Miller, their leading returning scorer who had played only 14 Division I games.

But Miller seems to have a better handle on the season after yesterday.

Miller scored five goals and added two assists, including scoring the eventual game-winner with eight minutes left in the game, as Hofstra edged Towson State, 13-12, before 483 at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field. The North Atlantic Conference opener for both teams originally was scheduled for Saturday, but was moved to Hopkins' artificial surface field because of the snow.

"With coach [Chris] Colbeck coming in with a new offense and me being in just my fourth semester here, I didn't know what to think about the team," said Miller, a senior who played at Nassau (N.Y.) Community College his first two seasons. "I had the opportunity to get to the cage today and that's what I did. They played to deny me the ball, so I had more room to move around them once I got the ball."

Miller single-handedly jump- started the Flying Dutchmen (1-0), scoring or assisting on five of their first seven goals. Beating Towson defenseman Michael Graebner from behind the goal, he converted a diving shot near the crease to put Hofstra ahead 7-4 two minutes into the second quarter.

Chris Panos later scored off a feed from Miller with 2:44 left in the third quarter to increase the Hofstra lead to 10-6.

Towson State came back in the last 2 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, capitalizing on the Flying Dutchmen's defensive breakdowns. Tigers midfielders Spencer Ford and Barry Heddings each powered in open perimeter shots in the last minute to cut the advantage to 10-9.

Tim Langton capped the 5-0 run, scoring off a spin move to give Towson an 11-10 lead with 9:07 left. But Hofstra scored 11 seconds later on a goal by Jarred Testa, ending its nine-minute scoreless stretch to tie the game at 11.

Then Miller put Hofstra ahead for good at 12-11 with eight minutes left in the game, netting the Flying Dutchmen's first extra-man goal in nine tries.

"Blake's not really an experienced Division I player," said Hofstra coach John Danowski, who was the only Division I coach to express interest in Miller. "I don't think he really understood what it's really like to play a Division I game against Towson State at Homewood Field, the place for lacrosse."

It was a poor beginning for Towson State, which lost its first season opener in nine years despite outshooting Hofstra 46-24.

"I was not happy with our shot selection the entire game," Towson coach Carl Runk said. "It's a tragic loss for us."

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