Clune sparks Towson comeback over Delaware Tigers take 16-13 victory after trailing by 3 goals

April 07, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The falling temperatures and a steady rain didn't interfere with the fireworks display at Towson State after last night's lacrosse game against Delaware. And the 14th-ranked Tigers had reason to celebrate.

Trailing by three goals late in the third quarter, they ran off six straight, then held off the Blue Hens for a 16-13 victory in a North Atlantic Conference game at Minnegan Stadium.

Sophomore attackman Matt Clune had assisted on four earlier goals before netting one of his own at 1: 50 of the fourth quarter to tie the score at 11.

Thirty seconds later, he scooped up a loose ball and got off a shot while tumbling forward that eluded Delaware keeper Brian Cooper.

It was Towson's first lead since senior midfielder Michael Strohman had put the Tigers ahead 6-5 with 7: 20 left before halftime. And it would last despite the Blue Hens' persistence.

"I lost my balance and fell on my face," Clune said. "I saw their goalie and just went with what I had. It came up positive."

The Tigers (3-3) started with a bang, scoring twice in the first four minutes and not allowing a shot for the first 8: 53.

Freshman Spencer Ford passed to midfielder Barry Heddings on a nice pick-and-roll for a 1-0 lead just 43 seconds into the game, then converted a feed from Clune at 4: 06.

Clune got his second assist on a goal by sophomore Kevin Sturm at 7: 42, and Delaware (6-4) looked as though it would go quietly.

The look was deceiving. Everything began coming apart for the Tigers in the second quarter. Their passes sailed, their defense softened and a three-goal lead vanished.

Clearly, they missed junior defenseman Eric Vanags, who is out with a stress fracture in his back.

"Our defense was flatter than heck. We just couldn't support one another," said coach Carl Runk.

The Blue Hens outscored Towson State 7-3 in the second quarter. They found little resistance taking the ball to the crease -- senior Kevin Lavey was barely noticed as he rushed in from the left side to score at 1: 56 -- and twice went ahead by two goals.

They were up 11-8 when Towson came to life. Sturm (four goals) started the rally with 3: 35 left in the third quarter when he converted a pass from freshman Todd Paradise, who had retrieved an errant shot behind the net.

Sturm scored again 28 seconds later, this time off a feed from Clune, to reduce the deficit to one.

After Clune scored twice to open the fourth period, junior Kevin Travis spun off a defender and beat Cooper while Delaware was a man down. Senior Lee Williams then scored with 8: 04 remaining for a 14-11 lead.

Senior Pat Gately picked up his fourth goal with 6: 03 left to get Delaware closer, but Towson senior midfielder Tim Langton scored twice in the last 4: 58.

The Tigers outshot Delaware, 45-37, and had a 69-43 advantage in ground balls. They also won 22 of 33 faceoffs.

"The kids played their hearts out," Runk said. "They showed a tremendous amount of character in the fourth quarter."

Pub Date: 4/07/96

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