Towson tops JMU, 4-1, in NCAA game

Tigers' defense rules roost

North Carolina next up in tournament


November 24, 2001|By Kelly Lusk | Kelly Lusk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Towson men's soccer players jogged the width of Fetzer Field late last night, laughing and talking to each other.

Meanwhile, a James Madison player buried his face in a fan's shoulder as his teammates walked slowly off the field, their heads down.

Contrasting scenarios. Both so telling.

The Tigers ended the Dukes' season with a 4-1 victory in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Towson's first-ever appearance in the tourney.

"If there were a word beyond proud, I would use that," Tigers coach Frank Olszewski said of his team. "We've set a new standard."

The Tigers (16-4-1) began their assault in the 19th minute when forward Randy Tolson (Calvert Hall) collected a lofted pass from defender Danny Skelton. James Madison goalkeeper Josh Kovolenko ventured out of the net to challenge the breakaway, but Tolson tucked a low shot into the net near the far post.

The teams continued to share possession for the duration of the match. But when it came down to finishing, the Dukes (12-6-1) just couldn't get the job done.

"When you get a lead, the other team has to move more players on attack," Olszewski said. "Sometimes a counterattack will happen, and sometimes you can find the holes and extend your lead."

The Tigers did just that.

Towson midfielder Kevin Corridini rebounded a Machel Millwood shot in the 65th minute to put the Tigers up by two.

Then Millwood scored one of his own when he faked out a James Madison defender and sent a shot from the top of the box to score in the 75th minute.

Even when a Tigers foul inside the box gave the Dukes a penalty kick, it wasn't James Madison's offense that put the team on the board.

Kovolenko came out of the Dukes' net, all the way to the other side of the field, and scored on his rebound after the ball hit the crossbar.

"When I saw the goalie come out to take the shot, I was surprised," Millwood said. "I was thinking counterattack."

Towson didn't get that rebound, but Millwood did score again. Tigers defender Jared Murphy chipped a corner kick to Tolson, who passed the ball to Millwood. Millwood took the close-range shot to ensure a Towson victory.

The unseeded Tigers advanced to face seventh-seeded North Carolina tomorrow at 1 p.m.

And although Carolina boasts much more postseason experience than Towson, Tolson said his teammates won't let that intimidate them.

"I have all the confidence in the world," Tolson said. "Behind [our defense] nothing is going in the goal. We can take anybody."

Goals: T-Millwood 2, Tolson, Corradini; JM-Kovolenko. Assists: T-Skelton, Millwood, Tolson. Saves: T-Hurley 5; JM-Kovolenko 6. Half: T, 1-0.

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