Berry, No. 17 Towson turn aside Delaware

Winning critical faceoff preserves 10-7 victory

March 25, 2001|By Domenico Montanaro | Domenico Montanaro,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NEWARK, Del. - Towson's Justin Berry knew what he had to do in the Tigers' 10-7 win over rival Delaware in both teams' America East conference opener yesterday.

He crouched at midfield, poised and determined. With his team leading by one goal, the whistle blew and he stood strong, moved his stick over the ball and flipped it out. The game was effectively over.

Berry needed to win that faceoff with 53 seconds remaining at the Blue Hens' Rullo Field. With two goals in 20 seconds, Delaware had just cut No. 17 Towson's 8-5 lead to one.

Berry was up to the task, and as a result, the Tigers beat the Blue Hens for the first time in two years.

"That was huge," Towson coach Gary Seaman said. "There were so many big plays. That one stands out."

The Tigers (4-2, 1-0) added two goals in the final seconds, including one empty-netter for the final score. They had lost to the Blue Hens (1-6, 0-1) last year at Minnegan Stadium, 15-13, and then at Rullo, 17-16. In typical Delaware-Towson fashion, the two teams scrapped it out.

The game was scoreless after the first period, and a short-handed goal by Delaware's Brad Downer got the Blue Hens on the board first. Towson, however, responded with three straight goals. The Tigers finally scored with 9:34 to go in the half when Kyle Campbell found Brad Reppert in front of the goal. Reppert flipped it past Blue Hens goalie David Mullen, who had 17 saves for the game.

Towson controlled possession and outshot Delaware, 53-25, but struggled to score in the first half.

With 5:43 to go in the first half, Brad Monaco threw his arms down in frustration after he had a seemingly sure goal hit the inside of the left post and bounce away.

Only 30 seconds later, Reppert scored over the right shoulder of Mullen with a nice fake. Campbell then connected from five yards on a rebound with 4:10 to go. Delaware's offense, which was stagnant and sloppy for most of the half, didn't appear to pose a threat.

But the Blue Hens countered with two goals. With 2:52 remaining before halftime, Towson goalie John Horrigan expected a shot low, but Delaware's R.C. Reid put it high. Then with only 19 seconds in the half, Matt Alrich scored on the extra man to tie the game 3.

Towson came out strong to start the second half. The Tigers scored two goals in the first three minutes to take a 5-3 lead. They added one more when Josh Tankersley scored with 2:07 remaining in the third. Towson had built a three-goal advantage, but couldn't put the Blue Hens away. With 21 seconds to go in the third, Delaware scored again to cut it to two.

Campbell countered on an extra man in the fourth, but the Blue Hens scored again, cutting the lead to 7-5. Towson answered again, scoring to make it 8-5, and that proved too much for Delaware.

"It's a big win," Seaman said. "We haven't beat them since I've been here. We dominated in every facet of the game, except we couldn't score. We just had to hang in there. Their goalie was great. How many can you save? How many pipes can you hit?"

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