Towson goes on defensive, runs past Loch Raven, 12-4

Generals disrupt Raiders, advance to face Franklin

May 18, 1999|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

A week ago against Loch Raven, Towson's defense did not tighten up until the second half and the Generals barely escaped with a come-from-behind, two-goal victory.

Yesterday, the No. 12 Generals played tight defense right from the start and routed No. 13 Loch Raven, 12-4, in a Class 1A-2A West region semifinal.

The defending regional champion Generals advance to play Franklin, an 18-2 semifinal winner over Francis Scott Key, for the title tomorrow.

Although the Generals (12-4) gave up the first goal yesterday, they never let the Raiders (12-3) settle into any kind of offensive rhythm. After Ashley Froman's opening goal, the Generals held their hosts scoreless for the next 24: 26 while rolling up a 9-1 lead.

The Generals defense swarmed the player with the ball, forcing turnovers and poor shots. When the Raiders did get a good look at the goal, Claire Hoeckel stopped most of those shots, making 15 saves.

The fuel for yesterday's stellar performance came from last week's second-half effort in the 12-10 victory over the Raiders, said junior defender Julia Paul.

"We realized last Monday afternoon that this is how we wanted to go into this game," said Paul. "In the last 13 minutes when they didn't have any goals, we knew we could play like this the whole game. Ever since then, we've played with intensity."

The Generals focused on shutting down Raiders top scorer Laura Palazzi, a Penn State-bound senior who had burned them for four goals last week. Marie Demarais, with help from her sliding teammates, held Palazzi scoreless until the final minute.

The Raiders like to run isolation plays, creating openings for Palazzi's powerful left-handed shot, but when Towson covered her, the Raiders did not adjust.

"It wasn't really working," said Palazzi, "because they'd just pull a double and our girl wasn't cutting through. The open player needed to get a little more open."

The Generals trailed for only 29 seconds. After Froman's goal, Katie Dolan made several quick moves to slice through the arc and tie 1-1. Erin Rowse and Jill Wienecke then scored free-position goals. The Generals finished off the half with five goals in the last 4: 24 -- two each from Dolan and Lindsay Buchanan and one from Michelle Clarke.

That gave the Generals an 8-1 lead and the Raiders never got closer. Katie Fox's goal brought them within 10-3 with 21: 10 left, but Towson answered with three straight goals.

The Generals suffered a scare when All-Metro midfielder Buchanan went down with a knee injury late in the second half. Buchanan was pivoting on her left foot when she collapsed in pain, but last night, the Virginia-bound senior said she had suffered only a sprained left knee and might return by the weekend if the Generals advance to the state semifinals.

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