Towson men advance to soccer final Top-seeded Tigers defeat Hofstra in America East, 2-1

November 07, 1998|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- It was a close call, and it took a dramatic goal by freshman Alfonso DeMares -- one he called the "goal of my lifetime" -- but top-ranked Towson advanced to tomorrow's America East Conference men's soccer championship game with yesterday's 2-1 win over No. 4 seed Hofstra.

The Colombian native's 20-yard blast past the reach of goalie Andrew Brooke with 3: 31 remaining in regulation sent the Tigers into the championship game against third-seeded Drexel. The Dragons ended the reign of five-time champion Boston University with a 2-0 victory in yesterday's other semifinal at the University of Vermont.

DeMares' goal, his eighth of the year, kept Towson's bid for its first league tournament crown alive after the Tigers had been outplayed in the second half.

"They threw a lot of pressure at us," said Towson coach Frank Olszewski, "but the kids responded like the champions that they are."

"At least we came together at the end," said DeMares.

Towson carried a 1-0 lead into intermission, courtesy of Richie Moller's successful penalty kick at 36: 10.

Moller had been awarded the shot after defender Andrew Darby had been called for an inadvertent hand ball on the goal line. Moller followed with his league-leading 21st goal of the year.

Hofstra remained at full strength (a deliberate hand ball would have resulted in Darby's ejection), and after regrouping at the break, threw everything it had at Tigers goalkeeper Ethan Jennings.

In the opening seconds, Patrick Geraghty had Jennings to himself from 6 yards out, but popped his shot over the crossbar. Ten minutes later, Jennings pulled off a dazzling diving save on Stuart Duffin from 15 yards out.

But the Dutchmen notched the tying goal at 65: 57, when John O'Hagan's corner kick from the right side slipped in off the leg of a Towson defender.

A mix-up in front of Jennings with eight minutes left nearly led to disaster. Jennings came off his line to challenge Hofstra's David Pettitt, only to have Pettitt's drive from the edge of the area slip through his hands.

Fortunately for the Tigers, defender Chris Carpenter swooped in and, at the last second, booted the ball to safety.

Then, with overtime looming, DeMares was set up just outside the box by Kevin Henderson, who pushed him an easy pass from the left flank. DeMares spun and fired, putting perfect placement on a ball that found the upper left corner, just beyond the outstretched Brooke.

"I had a wide-open shot," said DeMares, "and so I just went for it. Thank God it went in."

Pub Date: 11/07/98

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