Towson must have been impressed with the No. 9 ranking and six-game win streak it took to UMBC last night. The Retrievers weren't, as they bolted to a 4-0 lead after eight minutes. The Tigers responded like one of the hottest teams in the nation, however, as they needed just eight more minutes to draw even, then used a seven-goal spurt to post a 13-8 victory.
"We knew UMBC was going to come out hard," Towson faceoff specialist Justin Berry said. "They had to beat us to get in the playoffs, so we knew they were going to be fired up. It took us a while to settle down, and when we did, we played pretty well."
Precocious Towson (9-2) has become the team to beat in the America East Conference, and the Beltway rivalry had more meaning for UMBC (5-4). The Retrievers are out of the running in the ECAC, but a win last night and three more on the road, against Army, Stony Brook and Maryland, would have made a strong case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Further fueled by the final home appearance of a senior class that includes point-leader Josh Hahn and goalie Steve Cusa, UMBC raced to that 4-0 lead with 7:38 elapsed. After Mac Chase fed Hahn, however, Towson fought back.
Less than one minute into the second quarter, freshman midfielder Brian Myers tied it for Towson. Ryan Obloj got the Tigers their first lead, at 6-5, with 9:44 left in the third quarter, and four minutes later Josh Tankersley put them ahead to stay. That goal was created by Towson's extra-man unit, which had performed miserably in the first 34 minutes, and then triggered the 7-0 run.
That 10-minute explosion gave the Tigers their first win at UMBC since 1995, and the six goals they scored in the third were the most allowed by Cusa in a quarter this season. Obloj led Towson with three goals and three assists, and Kyle Campbell had three goals and an assist, but equally important were Berry, who won 12 of the 13 second-half faceoffs, and goalie John Horrigan, who limited UMBC to one goal over a 37-minute stretch.
"Two of their goals, we were two men down," Towson coach Tony Seaman said. "Their best player [Hahn] was getting open shots from eight yards, but then our defense shut them down."