Towson wins 8th in a row, tops UMBC

Engelke scores four goals, DeFelice controls faceoffs as Tigers prevail, 13-8

April 28, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Towson's men's lacrosse team had just blown a lead and suffered a heartbreaking, overtime loss to Virginia. The Tigers trudged off the their home field with their heads down.

Tigers coach Tony Seaman stopped to talk to reporters, but the conversation was brief. At the time, the Tigers probably couldn't have envisioned that the loss might be the turning point of their season.

Since that setback on March 21, the 10th-ranked Tigers have won eight straight games, with their latest victory coming last night against UMBC.

Freshman attackman Jonathan Engelke scored four goals and senior midfielder Ben DeFelice dominated the faceoffs as the Tigers handled the visiting Retrievers, 13-8, in a nonconference game at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

"We wanted to win that Virginia game and we were disappointed, but since then, we've won the games that we should," said Engelke, whose four goals gave him a team-high 30 for the season.

"Everybody believes we can win and we're playing pretty well."

The Tigers (9-3), who have held six straight opponents to single digits, never trailed, but they couldn't put away the Retrievers (5-7) until late in the game.

A 4-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters answered a goal by UMBC junior midfielder Rob Cross, whose third score of the game had cut Towson's lead to 6-5 four minutes into the third quarter.

Tigers junior Phil Grillo, a transfer from UMBC, finished a pass from Bobby Griebe for an extra-man goal to make it 7-5.

Drew Pfarr scored off an assist from Casey Cittadino, and Engelke and Matt Florio beat Retrievers junior goalie Kevin Cepelak (16 saves) for a 10-5 Tigers advantage with 12:10 left in the game.

"We usually get on a run and Ben [DeFelice] kept getting the ball back for us," said Tigers coach Tony Seaman.

Working primarily against Retrievers senior Pat Muston, who came in winning 64 percent of his faceoffs, DeFelice (66 percent) won 18 of 25.

"I knew it was going to be a battle," said DeFelice, a Towson High grad who now has 101 ground balls for the season.

"I stayed focused and was hearing the whistles well tonight. And my wings played great."

After the Retrievers cut the Towson lead to 10-7 with 5:31 left on freshman Drew Westervelt's goal, DeFelice singlehandedly finished off UMBC.

He won a faceoff and then went the length of the field and scored. Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman called for a stick check on DeFelice, but the goal counted.

"He did a heck of a job," Zimmerman said. "He was so great that I had to use a stick check."

UMBC 2 2 1 3 - 8

Towson 4 2 3 4 - 13

Goals: UMBC-Cross 3, Westervelt 2, Mundorf, Hyland, Solazzo; Towson-Engelke 4, Pfarr 2, Florio 2, DeFelice, Grillo, Griebe, Cunningham, Myers. Assists: UMBC-Mundorf 2, Tobin, Berry, Westervelt, Hyland; Towson-Cittadino 2, Lynch 2, Myers, Mull, Griebe, DeFelice, Chane. Saves: UMBC-Cepelak 16; Towson-Sothoron 8.

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