Back in 1983, the Towson State field hockey team's offensive futility was reflected in its goal total: eight.
Three years later, the Tigers pushed across nine goals. And as recently as 1992, they managed only 10.
That's what makes this season's offensive explosion so deafening.
Towson State's opener against Rider last week produced a 4-0 victory, but that didn't scratch the surface. It didn't even leave a mark.
On Sunday, the Tigers set a school record for goals in a single game in a 7-0 win over Louisville, giving them 11 for the season. Then came Thursday's 4-1 victory over previously undefeated American, improving Towson's record to 3-0, its best start in the program's 20-year history.
"Those first two games were ones we expected to win, but I didn't think the kids would turn it on like they did," said third-year coach Michelle Frates. "Offensively, they just work really well together, but it actually starts with our goalkeeper and goes straight on up the field. They just set the tone right from the start of the game, and that's something Towson State has never done. They've always played on their heels."
The Tigers were 2-0 last year before finishing 6-10, extending their streak of non-winning seasons to 10.
"I'm always aware of that; it's always in the back of my mind," Frates said.
It was thrust to the front last year when Towson had to forfeit its final two games because of an incident that led to a player being taken to the hospital with alcohol poisoning as part of a freshman initiation, ruining the Tigers' chances of ending the year at .500.
"If anything, there's been a positive carryover," Frates said. "They learned a lot from it and I know it'll never happen again. You have to be realistic; they're in college and you know what happens in college. But they're aware of the repercussions."
Senior Lisa McCullen scored twice against American and has five goals so far. Junior Lauren Volk (Loch Raven) has four goals; she had one coming into the season. Junior keeper Kelly Brahy made 17 saves Thursday and has given up only one goal.
UMBC soccer on a roll
The women's soccer team at UMBC has 11 freshmen, a new coach and every intention of exceeding last year's eight victories.
Despite missing five starters from last season, the Retrievers are 4-0 under Amanda Cromwell. UMBC may be in a rebuilding mode, but that doesn't mean it has to be a losing one.
"We're rebuilding in the sense that we brought in a lot of new people. But you can be rebuilding at the same time that you're growing and getting better," said Cromwell, a former standout at the University of Virginia who was an alternate on the U.S. women's Olympic soccer team.
Three different Retrievers scored in a 3-0 season-opening win over Mount St. Mary's. A fourth, freshman Jessaka Pheobus, provided the lone goal in last weekend's 1-0 victory over Big South Conference rival Liberty. And freshman Michelle Clare (Centennial), making her first start, had two goals and an assist ,, in Thursday's 3-0 win at St. Francis (Pa.).
Freshman keeper Mandy Robins has posted three shutouts. She recently was named the conference's honorable-mention Player of the Week.
"From the seniors all the way down, everyone has contributed. It's been a total team effort," Cromwell said. "Every game, we've outshot our opponents and we've scored some great goals. Anyone on the field has the potential to score. Everyone is dangerous."
The joke around UMBC is Cromwell has made coaching at the Division I level look simple.
JTC "The team is making it look easy for me," she said.
The Johns Hopkins volleyball team's 4-0 start is the best in the program's history. Freshman Michelle Dumler set a school record with seven aces in one match and leads the Blue Jays with 119 assists and 13 aces. Salisbury State's women's soccer team is ranked No. 6 in the Mid-Atlantic region, and the College of Notre Dame is ninth. The teams meet today at 11 a.m. in Salisbury. Rachel Lawson has been named an assistant softball coach at Maryland. She played at Massachusetts from 1990 to 1994. Mike McGlinchey, the youngest son of the former Frostburg State football coach of the same name, is a freshman offensive guard at Towson State. All former Towson State tennis players are invited to participate in the TSU Alumni Tennis Match Sunday at 1: 30 p.m. at the Towson Center courts. Information: (410) 830-3170.
Pub Date: 9/14/96