Terrapins tame Tigers on late goal by Morsell

No. 9 UM escapes, 13-12, as sophomore attackman scores with 24 seconds left

March 12, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- The stakes were high yesterday for the ninth-ranked Maryland lacrosse team when sophomore attackman Mike Morsell took a pass from Brian Zeller with 24 seconds left in the game and unleashed a line-drive shot from seven yards out that gave the Terps a 13-12 win over unranked Towson.

The favored Terps were locked in a 12-12 draw with the Tigers at Byrd Stadium and were in danger of being victims of an early season upset by their state rivals, who had been stunned by Lehigh, 10-9, last week in their season opener.

Forget the second-guessing of the Terps.

Morsell aimed the ball up a little on Towson goalie John Horrigan and it whistled past him into the goal.

"I had to go higher on him [Horrigan]," Morsell said. "We had been hitting him in the feet all day long and it wasn't working. I never was afraid out there even when we were down [6-3 with nine minutes left in the second quarter]. We're one of the best teams in the country now. We've bounced back strong from that Duke loss."

The Morsell heroics proved how strong Maryland (3-1) is, said sophomore Terps midfielder Mike LaMonica, who had a career-high four goals.

"Mike Morsell isn't even one of our big scorers, and he wins the game for us," said LaMonica, who picked a fitting day to score four goals. He had the career afternoon in front of his mother, Linda Filbert, who is the Towson women's gymnastics coach.

Filbert had some tough decisions to make on how she dressed for the game.

"She wore Towson sweat pants and a Maryland jersey," said LaMonica, who attended Calvert Hall. "And we're going out to eat tonight down here at Maryland."

LaMonica scored the first two goals of the game to give Maryland a 2-0 lead, and he added two more in the second quarter during a 5-0 run that wiped out the 6-3 Towson advantage and built an 8-6 halftime lead.

Maryland's redshirt freshman attackman, Mike Mollot, fed LaMonica for two of his goals and finished with five assists.

But Towson (0-2) never backed off from Maryland and had a good chance to send the game into overtime when senior midfielder Mike Haertel got off a buzzer-beating shot in a man-up situation that was wide-left. Haertel had already scored two goals and had two assists when he gave the Terps a late scare.

However, the big stories for Towson were senior attacker Todd Paradise, who pumped in five goals, and Horrigan, a junior, who made 14 saves. Paradise scored four of Towson's first six goals, and Horrigan made several miraculous saves on close-range shots.

"Horrigan made so many saves on shots to his off-stick side, where we thought we could beat him," Maryland coach Dick Edell said. "When you have a day like that in the goal, it's going to be tough to beat any team. I liked the way our kids kept fighting and found a way to win."

Towson coach Tony Seaman said he would love to have "the final play of the third quarter back."

That was the play in which the Tigers' Brad Reppert had a one-on-one opportunity right in the face of Maryland goalkeeper Pat McGinnis and somehow couldn't convert with the score tied at 9 in the final seconds of the quarter.

The ball appeared to slip out of Reppert's stick and bounced right to McGinnis, who got the ball quickly down field to Marcus LaChapelle, who fed Morsell for a go-ahead goal and a 10-9 lead with one second left in the third quarter. That was a back-breaking two-goal swing because Towson was on the verge of going up 10-9.

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