Delaware holds off Towson

5 goals by Sturm, Ford not enough in 17-16 loss

April 11, 1999|By Christopher Yasiejko | Christopher Yasiejko,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NEWARK, Del. -- Kevin Sturm lay there, sprawled on the turf, spent. The ball was somewhere, anywhere but in the net. Not that he hadn't tried.

His team, down by one with seven seconds left against No. 6 Delaware, had clawed and scraped and just wouldn't let up. Towson had come back from a five-point deficit in the first half. It had slowly crept back from a game-opening four-goal hole.

Even now, after trailing by four with 2: 36 remaining in this battle of America East powers, the No. 12 Tigers had returned to form. Steve Preis scored unassisted. Then it was Spencer Ford with his fifth goal to draw within two. Then it was Todd Paradise to pull within one with seven seconds left.

And Towson coach Tony Seaman called time, and the sellout crowd of 2,000 at Rullo Stadium was deafening. The ball went to Sturm, who was deep enough and smart enough to know he couldn't beat the goalie high. So he whipped his stick sideways, and the ball sizzled like a low-flying bullet along the ground.

And into goalie Ron Jedlicka's grasp.

It was over, and Towson (3-4, 2-2 America East) was on the losing end of a 17-16 bone-rattler. The No. 6 Blue Hens (8-0, 3-0) continued on their hot streak with their 11th straight win, tops in the nation and a school record.

This one, for Delaware coach Bob Shillinglaw, was important. It was the Hens' first win against the Tigers since 1989. It also was a healthy way to begin a stretch in which Delaware faces five teams that are currently ranked in the top 20, including a visit to No. 1 Loyola.

For Towson, it was more of the same. The Tigers have lost four straight, but none of those losses was a laugher. The pain comes with the fact that they lost by three goals or fewer to No. 4 Syracuse, No. 1 Loyola, No. 14 Hofstra, and now Delaware.

"There were some unbelievable turns of possession and things that just killed us," Seaman said. "But we fought back. I'm proud as anything of our kids."

"We needed this one bad," said Sturm, whose five-goal effort went for naught. "It was the biggest game of the season."

Towson 3 2 5 6 -- 16

Delaware 5 4 2 6 -- 17

Goals: T--Ford 5, Sturm 5, Paradise 2, Smith 2, Ross, Preis; D--Carney 6, Lavey 3, DeBusschere 3, Grant 2, Bruder 2, Motta. Assists: T--Ford 3, Paradise, Smith, D'Alonzo; D--Grant 7, Lavey 2, DeBusschere, K.Lavey. Saves: T--Horrigan 6, Hudson 8; D--Jedlicka 17, Tiernan 1.

Pub Date: 4/11/99

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