This time, Towson puts on talent show in 17-8 rout of UMBC

Unpredictable Tigers men have no problem against Retrievers in rising to 5-4

College Lacrosse

April 18, 2002|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

It hasn't been the men's lacrosse season Towson University anticipated.

Josh Tankersley is out with a torn hamstring, and fellow midfielder Hunter Lochte has been nursing a groin pull.

A turnover problem magnified an unsettled situation in the goal, but there have been games when the Tigers, coming off a surprise run to the 2001 NCAA final four, got caught off guard because they thought they had superior talent.

That wasn't the perception last night at UMBC Stadium. It was reality, as Towson scored on six of its first 10 shots and cruised to a 17-8 rout of the Retrievers.

Junior attackman Ryan Obloj posed some serious issues for a young UMBC defense, but the Tigers were bigger, stronger and quicker everywhere else, too.

"We can be good sometimes," Towson coach Tony Seaman said. "We weren't horrible in the games we lost, and it's a shame that some good teams aren't going to get into the [NCAA] playoffs."

Towson (5-4) returned nearly everyone from an offense that scored 13.2 goals a game during last season's magical run to Rutgers, but the Tigers averaged 8.0 in losses to Maryland, Virginia, Loyola and Hofstra.

They struggled to overcome Colonial Athletic Association foe Villanova last Saturday, but UMBC (3-6) was a reprise of earlier blowouts of Lehigh and Delaware.

UMBC was patient on its first possession and briefly went on top when Franklin Berry fed Adam Shiley, but then the Retrievers couldn't hold on to the ball and their young defense paid the price.

Obloj, who had 30 goals last season, but only seven entering last night, set up behind the goal and scored three times in less than three minutes, including the goal that put the Tigers ahead to stay with just 5:26 elapsed.

"It's about time," Obloj said. "It's been frustrating, figuring out why we haven't been able to do it like we did last year.

It was 6-1 after one quarter and, for all intents and purposes, the game was over when Lochte made it 8-1 with 5:28 left in the half. UMBC averages fewer than eight goals a game, and Mount St. Mary's is the only opponent the Retrievers have been able to come back on after trailing at the half.

The spread reached 14-1 midway through the third quarter before Seaman cleared his bench of its 27 reserves, and Don Zimmerman's team made it remotely respectable.

John Hunt, the junior who lost his spot in the Towson goalie rotation two games ago, got his first start since March and performed superbly in the first half, when he saved nine of UMBC's 18 shots. It was a game he wanted badly.

"I didn't play my best against Loyola, and I understand why I lost some playing time," Hunt said. "Last week against Villanova and tonight was the best I've ever played at Towson.

"When I was a freshman, I got a chance to start against UMBC, and I think they got seven goals on their first seven shots. This game was bigger to me than any other on our schedule."

UMBC started a freshman, Kevin Cepelak, in goal and two more, Josh Hoffman (Gilman) and Joe Bivona, on close defense. They simply could not keep track of an attack that was considered the most dangerous in the nation coming into this season.

"You wondered when they were going to catch fire," Zimmerman said. "Towson's awfully athletic, and when they're on their game, that's a tough combination."

Towson 6 4 6 1 - 17

UMBC 1 0 2 5 - 8

Goals: T-Obloj 4, Reppert 3, Fountain 2, Lochte 2, Meerholz, Pfarr, D.Cocchi, Spear, Campbell, Schmidt; U-Shiley 2, Smith 2, DiPace 2, Gallagher, Chase. Assists: T-Reppert 3, Monaco 2, Obloj 2, Adams, Lochte, Campbell; U-Berry 2, Harasym 2, Cahill, Kestermann. Saves: T-Hunt 11, Sothoron 3, DeGroat 0; U-Cepelak 6, Flanagan 8.

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