As seniors at Towson, a schoolwith a proud lacrosse tradition, attackman Sean O'Connor and defender Lance Yeagle would have been dejected by having never played in at least one state semifinal.
Yesterday, the duo played key roles in an 8-4, Class 1A-2A South region title victory over last year's state champion Hereford that assures the Generals (10-5) a spot in the final four at UMBC for the first time since 1994.
That season culminated with the team of coach Randy Dase (now in his 20th season) winning the school's third straight state title and seventh overall.
With yesterday's game tied for the fourth and final time at 4-4 in the final period, O'Connor (one goal, four assists) ignited a decisive four-goal run by feeding Nick DeFelice (with 7: 12 left), Bryan Lambert (at 6: 31), Phil Bell (at 4: 47) and Lambert again (at 2: 43).
"With their zone, we wanted to move the ball around and look for the open man," said O'Connor. "Our defense stepped up big-time. Not to get to the states would have been a big disappointment."
Lambert finished with three goals and an assist, and Brad Carey had two goals.
The Generals avenged a regular-season loss in which Hereford (13-5) overcame a 6-4 deficit with two minutes left to win, 7-6, on an overtime goal by Luke Gilbert.
Yesterday, however, Yeagle, sophomore keeper Jesse Markowitz (15 saves) and defenders Stewart Wyeth, Vic Rini and Steve Toth employed an effective zone that limited Hereford's top scorers, John Vogt (39 goals, 25 assists) and Bob Rinehimer (33-33), to a combined one goal and one assist.
"They said in a newspaper article that it would be a dream to beat Towson twice in one season. We wanted to crush that dream," said Yeagle, who is headed for Hofstra. "We were able to shut them down. Now we need two more wins to get back our state championship."
Tied 2-2 at half, Lambert gave the Generals their first lead at 3-2 with 4: 32 left in the third period by following and burying a shot by Carey that Bulls keeper Tim Mascari (16 saves) had blocked. The Bulls tied the game twice more before O'Connor closed the show.
John Porter (two goals) and Jimmy Parker (one goal, one assist) scored for Hereford.
"I think the wheels came off a little when they scored four straight," said Hereford coach Whit Morrill. "We weren't holding the ball and didn't finish off the opportunities in the open field and in transition. We were trying to dodge against a zone [defense], which is like running into a wall."
Kent 12, North Harford 11, OT: Chuck Fry scored the game-winner off Jon Fellows's assist 2: 56 into overtime to give the Trojans (13-2) the Class 1A-2A North title. Fellows and Justin Berry paced Kent with three goals each.
Patterson 9, Douglass 8: Tom Newell, Brian Hopson, Rich Califano and Roger Jones each scored two goals to send the Clippers (14-1) to the Class 3A-4A South title. Patterson faces Broadneck, which eliminated Queen Anne's yesterday, in the state tourney.
Dulaney 14, Eastern Tech 6: Brett Elwood had a game-high five goals to go along with two assists to lead the Lions to victory in the Class 3A-4A North region final. Bill Kauffman added four goals for Dulaney.
Pub Date: 5/15/97