Towson stumbles late, falls to Virginia, 13-8

5-0 spurt by Cavaliers in fourth quarter hands Tigers 2nd loss in row

College Lacrosse

March 18, 2002|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

About 10 months ago, the Towson men's lacrosse team's stirring run to the NCAA final four was the talk of college lacrosse.

Now, after a second straight loss to one of the nation's elite, the buzz this week may center on just what exactly is wrong with the Tigers.

Undone by a series of costly turnovers, the seventh-ranked Tigers fell to No. 3 Virginia, 13-8, in front of 2,305 fans, who braved a mixture of rain, sleet and snow yesterday at Minnegan Stadium.

With the score tied at 8 entering the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers (4-1) closed with a 5-0 run to put away the Tigers (2-2), leaving Towson coach Tony Seaman to bemoan a series of mistakes by his team during the decisive 15 minutes.

"It was just making plays," said Seaman, who counted seven turnovers his team committed in the quarter. "You've got to catch and you've got to throw. We did that for three quarters, and in the fourth quarter we don't do it seven times, and they get extra plays and make three extra goals."

Coupled with last week's loss to Maryland and a schedule that still features games against Loyola and Johns Hopkins, the Tigers, last year's NCAA darlings, face a dogfight just to get back into the tournament.

Six Cavaliers scored two goals apiece, including junior A.J. Shannon, who also had two assists.

Senior Conor Gill, a two-time first-team All-American out of St. Paul's, had three assists, but it was largely the play of the Virginia defense and sophomore goalie Tillman Johnson (St. Mary's) that carried the day.

Towson's Hunter Lochte, a junior midfielder from Boys' Latin, forged the fifth tie of the game, 8-8, with a left-handed cannon at the 7:44 mark of the third quarter.

From there, Towson was held scoreless, kept in single digits for the first time in 16 games.

Johnson was a big reason for that, making 11 saves, but he had ample help, especially from junior Ned Bowen, who shadowed Towson sniper Kyle Campbell, held to one goal late in the first quarter.

"They are a scary team when you look at them on film," said Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia. "I really thought the key was going to be if [Mark] Koontz and [Brett] Hughes could keep a handle on [Ryan] Obloj and [Brad] Reppert."

Obloj finished with two assists, while Reppert tied Lochte for team-high honors with two goals.

"They are a good team and their goalie played huge, but when it came down to it, we couldn't step up to the plate," Reppert said. "We made a lot of turnovers in the fourth quarter that killed us. You can't do that against a good team."

Stymied in the third quarter by Towson freshman goalie Reed Sothoron (10 saves), the Cavaliers got two fourth-quarter goals from John Christmas, and one each from Brenndan Mohler (Catonsville), Joe Yevoli and Trey Whitty (St. Paul's).

Whitty, a junior long-stick midfielder, gave the Cavaliers a 9-8 lead, picking up a ground ball behind the net and lunging out in front to score the game-winner.

NOTES: The Cavaliers, who played all of last year's final four teams in a span of 15 days, will face new No. 1 Johns Hopkins on Saturday in Charlottesville. .. Virginia stayed at No. 3 in the latest Inside Lacrosse poll. Towson fell to No. 10.

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