Towson rides Ford to victory over Navy Midfielder's five goals, one assist pace Tigers, 14-6

April 13, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Navy came to Towson State last night looking to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive and give third-year coach Richie Meade his first seven-win season.

The unranked Tigers, who fell out of the top 20 for the first time in nine years three weeks ago, entered rain-soaked Minnegan Stadium looking to prove they were better than their 2-3 record.

Towson State found what it was looking for.

Sophomore midfielder Spencer Ford showed the way for the Towson, registering a career-high five goals and one assist in the Tigers' 14-6 victory before 1,004.

Kevin Sturm, a junior attackman, added four goals for the Tigers and Matt Clune, a teammate of Sturm's at St. Mary's, contributed two goals and two assists.

"The feeds were there and everything fell for us tonight," said Ford. "We always start off the season slow, but we heated up this time last season and made it into the playoffs and want to get back to the playoffs again."

The Tigers (3-3) went to work early on Navy's defense and took a 2-0 lead on backhanded shot by Sturm.

Chris Roesgen answered Sturm's goal 20 seconds later on an assist from Mike Haertel and tied the game less than two minutes later when Jamie O'Leary converted a feed from Brad Gilroy.

Ford put the hosts back in front less than two minutes later, and Sturm closed the first-quarter scoring on an extra-man opportunity with 5: 03 left.

The Tigers dominated the first-quarter faceoffs, winning six of seven.

Towson continued to control possession and the tempo in the second quarter, and the result was three unanswered goals that gave the Tigers a 7-2 cushion at the half.

"I don't know where we lost it. It's a mystery to me," said Meade, whose team travels to Johns Hopkins on Saturday. "We haven't changed anything since the first day we started, but we're not playing at the same level we were early in the season.

"We obviously knew how big of a game this was and I felt we were emotionally ready. We looked sharp in warm-ups. Then we went out on the field and just didn't execute."

Freshman midfielder Keith Smith opened the second-half scoring off a pass from Greg Franzen, and Sturm ended it by scoring a goal with two Navy players in the penalty box for slashing.

The Midshipmen (6-4), who were coming off a 10-5 loss to No. 4 Maryland, staged a comeback early in the second half and closed the gap to three goals on an O'Leary dunk.

Clune ended Navy's run with an unassisted goal, and the Tigers finished the third quarter with another three-goal run.

Clune's no-look, behind-the-back pass to Ford on the crease put the Tigers ahead 10-5, and a late hit by Newton on the goal helped set up Ford's extra-man goal with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.

"When we broke down on defense, our goalie would come up big," said Towson State coach Carl Runk, referring to senior keeper Wyatt Shiflett (14 saves). "Wyatt had a great game. This was his best effort of the year, and I hope he just continues."

Pub Date: 4/13/97

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