O'Connell in saving role for Towson

Women's notebook

College Lacrosse

April 21, 2004|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Towson goalie Jessica O'Connell has made 10 or more saves in 10 straight games. The Tigers have needed just about every one.

In building toward the best record in school history, 11-3, the Tigers have won nine games by three goals or less, including four one-goal victories.

"Since we've had so many close games this year, her performance says a lot," said Towson coach Missy Holmes. "Against William & Mary, she made some incredible point-blank saves and that kept us in the game in the first half."

O'Connell's 11 saves helped the No. 16 Tigers recover from a 6-3 deficit to edge No. 17 William & Mary, 12-11, Friday. The senior followed that with a 14-save effort Sunday to help beat Old Dominion, 19-15.

With those two Colonial Athletic Association wins, the Tigers earned their first trip to the four-team CAA tournament, May 1-2 at James Madison.

At 5-1 in the CAA, the Tigers have lost only to No. 8 James Madison, 15-5. The five wins came by an average margin of only 2.2 goals.

O'Connell has a 10.59 goals-against average and a .511 save percentage. Her 138 saves boosted her career total to 538, fifth on Towson's all-time list.

"This year, she's been able to react to the ball - the shot's there, she knows where it's going and with her quickness, she's able to get there. She's been seeing the ball really well," said Holmes.

Decker gaining on records

James Madison senior midfielder Gail Decker set a Dukes record last week for career goals when she hit 181, but that might be just the beginning for the Mount de Sales graduate.

Decker, a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, is on the verge of breaking at least four more school records - for points, free-position goals, draw controls and shots.

The most impressive of those, points, would boost her past Megan Riley, a South River graduate, who reached 260 in 1999. Decker has 240.

Riley holds one record Decker won't reach - career assists. Riley dished out 109. Decker is seventh on the all-time list at 59.

Terps third in ACC

Maryland moved up to No. 2 in this week's IWLCA coaches' poll behind unbeaten and two-time defending national champ Princeton, but that doesn't make the Terrapins (12-2) the favorites for this weekend's Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Chapel Hill.

The Terps are seeded third and will face Virginia Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Since opening the season 2-2 with losses to No. 7 Duke, 9-7, and No. 4 Virginia, 10-8, however, the Terps have won 10 straight games.

Mountaineers climbing

With Mount St. Mary's enjoying its best season ever, coach Courtney Martinez Connor likely will become the Mountaineers' all-time winningest coach.

In her third season as head coach, Martinez Connor has a 27-23 record, tying her for the most wins with Janet Flora Anderson, whose teams went 27-20 between 1998 and 2000.

In only their ninth season, the Mountaineers already have had four head coaches.

At 11-3, the Mountaineers also need only one more win to match their all-time record for wins in a season. The 1998 team went 12-4.

With Friday's 17-1 win over St. Francis, they finished 7-0 in the Northeast Conference and clinched the top-seeded spot for the tournament, April 30-May 2 at Monmouth.

Still a young team, the Mountaineers have a freshman points leader in Katie Mason (Mount Hebron) with 23 goals and 15 assists. Junior Erin LaMotte (North Carroll) is the goal-scoring leader with 28.

Friday, the Mountaineers will be looking for their first win in 10 tries against UMBC at 4 p.m. in Emmitsburg. Last season, UMBC beat the Mountaineers for the NEC title before moving on to the America East Conference.

Women's lacrosse poll

IWLCA top 20

No. School (1st place) W-L Pts.

1. Princeton (15) 13-0 300

2. Maryland 12-2 281

3. Georgetown 9-2 255

4. Virginia 12-3 250

5. Loyola 12-2 239

6. Notre Dame 10-1 235

7. Duke 10-4 223

8. James Madison 11-3 197

9. Johns Hopkins 11-2 168

10. Vanderbilt 9-3 157

11. Northwestern 10-1 153

12. Dartmouth 8-2 141

13. Syracuse 9-3 124

14. Yale 8-4 100

15. North Carolina 8-6 94

16. Towson 11-3 72

17. William & Mary 8-6 57

18. George Mason 6-6 40

19. Penn State 3-9 34

20. Stanford 8-6 21

Others receiving votes: New Hampshire 7.

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