Washington College ends title frustration with Division III win Shoremen meet challenge of Nazareth, triumph, 16-10

May 25, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- This time there were no tears of frustration, only tears of triumph.

After two straight overtime losses in the past two championship games, Washington College survived a third-quarter scare with a brilliant eight-goal scoring run in the last 21 minutes as Washington held on to defeat Nazareth, 16-10, in the Division III title match yesterday at Rutgers Stadium before a crowd of 14,609.


Nazareth (13-3) had beaten the Shoremen (14-4) in the past two title games, both times with less than a minute expired in sudden-death overtime. But there were no last-minute heroics needed yesterday, just Washington players celebrating its first title in eight championship appearances with a mad dash to pile on goalie Andy Taibl in front of the cage.

Washington defender Scott McGilvray and Jeremy Stoehr then took a victory lap around the field with both players hoisting Stoehr's No. 1 jersey.

"It's something I've waited for all my life," said Taibl, a senior. "I came to Washington College knowing I'd be in a game with a chance to do this. I'm happy for this program, the faculty, teachers and coaches. They've been waiting for this for a long time."

"It's quite a joy. We will enjoy this for a long time," said senior attackman Andy Topatin. "Bringing it home this year, in my senior year, really made it worth it."

Topatin finished with four goals while teammate Justin McCarthy and John Fuller each added three. But the player who made the offense click was senior midfielder Jamie Pollock, who had five assists and one goal.

Washington was controlling the tempo until senior midfielder Greg Tomasso, also the Shoremen's faceoff specialist, had to leave the game with a knee injury and the Shoremen ahead, 6-5, with 12: 10 left in the third quarter.

Washington made it 7-5 when Fuller scored with 10: 33 remaining, but Nazareth won the next three faceoffs and scored quickly off each possession, going ahead on an extra-man goal by Billy Serino with 9: 43 remaining.

At that point, Washington's spirit could have been broken or the Shoremen could have folded when Nazareth went ahead again by one, 9-8, on a goal by midfielder Kieran McNamara at the 7-minute mark.

But instead, the Shoremen began to dominate. Midfielder Tyler Gilbert scored unassisted with 5: 46 left in the third period to tie the game. Lopatin scored nearly 2 1/2 minutes later and midfielder Bill Grothmann scored on a 25-yard shot with 44 seconds left to push the Shoremen ahead, 11-9, at the end of the quarter.

"The game is full of peaks and valleys," said Taibl, who finished with 13 saves. "We knew they were going to make their runs, but we were going to have our own. We were a little concerned about them getting some quick goals off the faceoff, but we stayed with our game plan."

McCarthy finished off Nazareth with the first two goals of the fourth period, the second one with 7: 52 left in the game that gave Washington a 13-9 lead. Both assists came from Pollock, who mainly worked from behind the goal but had some great assists right on top of the crease.

"They shot the ball quite well today," Nazareth goalie Jake Coon said. "Our defense played well, but we gave up some untimely shots. They got some looks at some in-close shots. They stuck 'em when they had to."

"At the beginning of the year, we talked about coming together as a team," said Washington coach John Haus, a candidate for the coaching job at Towson University. "It took this group a little longer, but they pulled together, especially today."

The Shoremen gained control of the tempo right from the opening quarter, outshooting Nazareth 17-8 in the first period. The Golden Flyers couldn't keep pace with the Shoremen offense, particularly Pollock, who assisted on three of Washington's five first-quarter goals.

Twice Pollock blew by Nazareth defensemen and fed Lopatin at the top of the crease for goals. Lopatin had three goals in the quarter as the Shoremen had very little trouble getting in close on Coon. Fuller broke Lopatin's streak on goals, scoring on an assist from Pollock with 5: 40 left in the quarter to put Washington ahead 4-1.

Coon, though, got stronger in the second quarter. He stopped four close-range shots from Washington, and even contributed to two Nazareth goals with quick outlet passes. Golden Flyers attackman Dennis Foley beat Michael Kent to the right of the cage for a goal with 13: 54 left in the second quarter and Nazareth attackman Craig DeVoe finished off a fast break with a goal to put the Golden Flyers within 5-4 with 6: 02 left.

But Washington midfielder Chris Bieberbach scored on a low shot from 12 yards with 1: 45 left in the quarter to close out the scoring and give the Shoremen a 6-4 lead at the half.

Pub Date: 5/25/98

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