UMBC holds on to upset Towson, 10-9

Retrievers blow 6-0 lead, but Gerber gets winner

College Lacrosse

April 10, 2003|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

UMBC senior goalie Tim Flanagan will never forget his two encounters against Towson.

The second will bring him much sweeter memories.

The Retrievers beat a Top 10 team for the first time since 1999 last night, as they blew a six-goal lead but got the winning goal from Josh Gerber with 2:40 left to beat the No. 9 Tigers, 10-9, at Minnegan Field in Towson Stadium.

Flanagan was the hero at the other end, where his 15 saves negated Towson's 43-25 shot advantage.

The Archbishop Curley High graduate transferred in after two seasons at CCBC-Essex but lost his starting job just before last year's Towson game, as he performed mop-up duty in a 17-8 loss. The next morning, Flanagan had a "weird feeling" and drove to his father's home, where he found him dead of a heart attack at age 58.

"He's always with me, always watching me," Flanagan said. "Every game, I play for him."

Flanagan was given another start by UMBC coach Don Zimmerman. He responded with a superb performance against Army, and that week's emotions bolstered him for what the Retrievers are enduring now.

UMBC, No. 17 in the The Sun/Channel 2 rankings, lost leading scorer Andy Gallagher and defenseman Matt P. Hall to torn knee ligaments in March.

The Retrievers (5-3) played well but lost Eastern College Athletic Conference games to Georgetown and Massachusetts, then acquiesced at Rutgers, where they lost a lead after three quarters for the first time in 40 games.

They came out sharp and focused last night, as they scored on six of their first 10 shots to take a commanding 6-0 advantage with 9:48 left in the first quarter.

Towson (4-4) had made 32.1 percent of its shots in solid wins over Delaware, Loyola and Hofstra, but the Tigers needed 16 shots before they beat Flanagan.

"We played horrible in the first half," Towson coach Tony Seaman said. "We kind of liked that No. 9 ranking; we thought we were pretty good."

Towson's offense began moving, goalie Reed Sothoron started to see the ball and the Tigers used a 5-1 third quarter to draw within a goal heading into the final period. Flanagan withstood seven shots on one possession, and the next time down Hunter Lochte fed Todd Spear, who tied it 9-9 with 3:50 left.

The Tigers had controlled 14 of the 21 faceoffs, but UMBC won the next one. Joey Kesterman held the ball on the left side. Gerber made a cut from out top, collected the pass and used a left-handed shot to beat Sothoron. It was his fourth goal of the game, 19th of the season and the biggest of the senior's college career.

"In the last two games [Massachusetts and Rutgers], we had the lead and we couldn't finish," said Gerber, who went to Perry Hall High.

"We said we had to play 60 minutes, and we finished this one."

UMBC can't win the ECAC, but a victory over North Carolina on Saturday would propel the Retrievers into the at-large debate. None of the current Retrievers has played in the NCAA tournament.

"I couldn't be prouder," Zimmerman said. "That's a great win for us."

UMBC 4 3 1 2 - 10

Towson 0 2 5 2 - 9

Goals: UMBC-Gerber 4, Grillo 2, Shiley 2, Franklin, Mundorf; T-Lochte 3, Spear 3, Fountain, Lynch, Monaco. Assists: UMBC-Kestermann 3, Gerber, Grillo, Mundorf; T-Mull 3, Monaco 2, Adams, Fountain, Lochte, Rutledge. Saves: UMBC-Flanagan 15; T-Sothoron 7.

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