Tidwell's OT goal upsets Washington

Senior from Arundel High lifts Salisbury State, 16-15

May 02, 1999|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

CHESTERTOWN -- The Salisbury State fans and players mobbed Josh Tidwell yesterday in the middle of Kibler Field, and who could blame them?

The senior midfielder from Arundel High did the unthinkable in sudden-death overtime to third-ranked and defending NCAA Division III champion Washington College right in front of 2,000 people on the Shoremen's home turf.

Tidwell virtually walked right in on freshman goalkeeper Ray Pagano and slammed the ball into the net to give the fourth-ranked Sea Gulls a 16-15 victory in another one of those classic Division III lacrosse duels on the Eastern Shore.

Talk about high drama in a perfect setting for lacrosse on a splendid spring afternoon. This was it.

And to top it off, Tidwell emerged as a hero in the sport he has spent most of his life being a role player. He even got cut from the Salisbury team his freshman year.

He had scored five goals all season before yesterday and was 11th on the team in points.

But on this day he put an end to a 31-goal shootout that featured the likes of Salisbury State's Peter Troup (seven goals) and Joe High (four goals) and Washington College's Matt Swift (five goals) and Jon Fellows (four goals).

Tidwell said, "I drank a lot and ate a lot of pizza my freshman year. I gained a lot of weight and my coach (Jim Berkman) cut me. But I changed my life after getting cut because I wanted to be a lacrosse player. I came back my sophomore year to make the team and have overcome a lot of injuries."

Washington College (11-2) found out just what kind of lacrosse player Tidwell could be when he struck suddenly for his first goal of the game just one minute and nine seconds into the four-minute overtime.

"I was looking to pass to the first red [Salisbury] jersey I saw on that final play," said Tidwell, who was working one-on-one against short-stick midfielder Chris Bieberbach on the right side of the net.

"I rolled back a little and went right to the goal. I was amazed that they kind of let me walk right in."

Tidwell said the Washington defense had "been sliding early all day" before it went to sleep a little and allowed him to march in for the game-winner.

Washington College coach J.B. Clarke said, "We didn't slide on the winning goal, and it was just one of some bad decisions we made defensively after getting a 14-11 lead" with 8: 26 left in fourth quarter.

But Clarke said he would not allow one loss to Salisbury (15-1) destroy his team's season.

"They call this game the `War on the Shore,' but it really should be called the `Battle on the Shore,' " Clarke said. "The `War' is the NCAA tournament."

For Tidwell, it was a day he will never forget.

"I tried to run to see my parents after I scored the goal," he said. "But I got tackled."

Berkman, the Salisbury coach, said, "Josh is a success story. He came back to make the team and become a two-time captain. I called two plays in the huddle [at start of the overtime]. One was for a zone defense and one was for a man. They went to a man and that dictated us to go to Josh or Brian Smith against their short sticks."

Brian Smith had been a key weapon all day for Salisbury with two goals and four assists, and Washington College had to be thinking about Troup and High.

But it was Tidwell who came through after Washington College had sent the game into overtime with a J.D. Radebaugh goal off a rebound for a tie at 15 with 39.6 seconds left.

Radebaugh's goal looked as if it could be a real blow to Salisbury's hopes since it came after Sea Gulls goalkeeper Jason Tarnow had made two spectacular saves at point-blank range to preserve a 15-14 lead.

Salisbury State 6 2 3 4 1 -- 16

Washington Col. 2 5 4 4 0 -- 15

Goals: SS--Troup 7, High 4, B. Smith 2, Bergey, Parks, Tidwell; WC--Swift 5, Fellows 4, Radebaugh 2, Mulhern, McCarthy, Dorst, Fuller. Assists: SS--B. Smith 4, Troup 2, High, DiPaola, Turner, Tidwell; WC--McCarthy 3, Mulhern 2, Fellows 3, Dorst, Grothmann. Saves: SS--Tarnow 9, Dodson 0; WC--Pagano 20.

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