Sluggish Terps ride `D' to 8-6 win

Towson men rally but can't overcome 2 long droughts

College Lacrosse

March 14, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

The crispness on offense was not there as it had been the previous two weeks, so Maryland's lacrosse team turned to the formula that it has depended on in the past.

With a physical defense forcing turnovers and goalie Tim McGinnis cleaning up the rest, the second-ranked Terps shut down No. 16 Towson for three quarters before surviving a late run to post an 8-6 victory in front of 2,495 at Byrd Stadium.

Maryland (3-0) saw an 8-1 fourth-quarter lead shrink to 8-6 with 3:09 to play, but All-American Chris Passavia stripped Towson freshman Keith Obloj with 1:30 left, and a sharp McGinnis made the last of his 15 saves on Drew Pfarr's shot moments later to preserve the victory over the Tigers (1-2).

"I thought [grad student] Timmy McGinnis was the best player on the field today," said Maryland coach Dave Cottle.

The Terps' coach wasn't exactly moved by the rest of his team's effort. After impressive showings in wins over Georgetown and Duke, Maryland's offense - aside from midfielders Brendan Healy (two goals, one assist) and Justin Smith (three goals) - struggled.

The Terps committed 18 first-half turnovers and 28 in all, five fewer than the team recorded in its first two games combined.

"Our level of play was pretty consistent throughout," said Smith, a senior who transferred from UMBC before last season. "It was pretty ugly. ... I don't know what it was. We felt we were getting everything we wanted on offense ... and were in the right position, but it just wasn't clicking."

Imagine how Tigers coach Tony Seaman felt.

In the first half, it took a full-field run by Tigers goalie Reed Sothoron, who wound up shooting wide, to generate one of his team's few first-half scoring chances. Towson was held scoreless for the first 29:10 before Peyton Chane finished a feed from Obloj to cut the Terps' lead to 4-1 heading into intermission.

The Tigers, who had 26 turnovers, then went another 19:37 without scoring as Maryland took the 8-1 lead behind third-quarter goals from Xander Ritz, Bill McGlone, Smith and Healy.

"Everybody took a turn being scared or playing very apprehensively," said Seaman, who tried numerous combinations on attack, but called the Terps' McGinnis the difference in the game. "In the fourth quarter, we played as well as we could play."

Second-year freshman Bobby Griebe capped Towson's five-goal, fourth-quarter run by converting a pass from Steve Mull into an extra-man goal that made it 8-6, but Passavia and McGinnis combined to thwart Towson.

"We got to 8-1 and it was kind of fool's gold because we weren't playing that well to get there," said Cottle, whose team faces Bucknell on Tuesday in Lewisburg, Pa. "But [before the season], we looked at the schedule and said if we could be 3-0, we would be very excited. So as ugly as this one was today, it was a good win for our team."

Towson 0 1 0 5 - 6

Maryland 1 3 4 0 - 8

Goals: T-Chane 2, Obloj, Engelke, DeFelice, Griebe; M-Smith 3, B. Healy 2, Ritz, Walters, McGlone. Assists: T-Mull, Obloj; M-Ritz 2, B. Healy. Saves: T-Sothoron 5, DeGroat 3; M-McGinnis 15.

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