No. 1 Maryland tops No. 15 Towson, 9-6

Tigers rally from scoreless first half to tie, but experienced Terps offense prevails

Maryland 9 Towson 6

College lacrosse

March 12, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

It was only a matter of time before seniors Joe Walters and Brendan Healy caught fire for Maryland's top-ranked men's lacrosse team. Yesterday against visiting No. 15 Towson, they gave the Terps the push they needed to silence an impressive comeback by the Tigers.

Walters and Healy each scored three goals and combined for three scores in the fourth quarter, as Maryland pulled away to a 9-6 victory before 3,253 at Byrd Stadium.

On a day when neither team was sharp, the Terps (3-0) made the plays that Towson failed to make. It started with a 12-save effort by Maryland junior goalie Harry Alford, and continued with the older offensive duo that had been quiet through the season's first two games.

Walters, the team's leading scorer the previous three seasons, had managed one goal before yesterday. Healy, the midfielder who ranked third in goals last year, had not scored one in Maryland's first two wins. They came in handy after the Terps lost a 4-0 halftime lead and found themselves in a 5-5 tie with the Tigers (1-2) after three quarters.

Healy followed a go-ahead score by senior attackman Xander Ritz with 11 minutes left by dodging two Towson defenders and scoring, back-to-back, unassisted goals in a three-minute span to give the Terps an 8-5 advantage with 7:13 left in the game.

Walters, who played attack and midfield and had produced two goals and an assist earlier in the game, had the last word. After a goal by Towson sophomore midfielder Brian Vetter that cut the lead to 8-6 with 4:16 left, Walters broke free along the crease and scored unassisted to finish the Tigers with 2:13 left.

"This is always a tough game. We have an older group of guys on offense, and we can all score. We have guys who keep their composure," Walters said.

"We challenged our seniors to step up. At 5-5, it was their time to show they were really good," Maryland coach Dave Cottle added. "We knew we were in for a battle. We're not in midseason form. The only thing we had a flow in was extra-man [offense]. It's quite the X factor when your goalie robs the other team."

Alford led a sturdy defensive effort highlighted by the tight coverage of junior Steve Whittenberg on senior attackman Steve Mull, Towson's superb feeder who did manage two assists. Alford was a thorn in Towson's offense throughout, especially when he stuffed junior attackman Bobby Griebe (two goals) on the crease with 12:25 left. That kept the game tied at 5-5.

Then again, the way Towson coach Tony Seaman saw it, the Tigers did not challenge Alford enough.

"We hit every part of his body today. When you hit people's bodies, you're shooting [poorly]. We've got to make shots," Seaman said. "You've got to make plays. That's why you give out scholarships. We run the X's and O's well. We get where we need to go well. Then we don't finish."

Shooting was far from Towson's only problem early. The Tigers, who were shut out in a half for the first time in nearly four years, lost five of six faceoffs, whiffed on three extra-man chances, and got beaten to 21 of 30 ground balls in the first half.

At least the Tigers, now 5-23 against Maryland, didn't roll over in the second half. Griebe and Fiat scored in quick succession to trim the Maryland lead to 4-2 midway through the third quarter.gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

Towson 0 0 5 1 - 6

Maryland 2 2 1 4 - 9

Goals: T- Fiat 2, Griebe 2, Cittadino, Vetter; M- Healy 3, Walters 3, Groot, McGlone, X. Ritz. Assists: T- Mull 2, Vetter; M-Phipps, M. Ritz, X. Ritz, Walters. Saves: T-DeGroat 8; M-H. Alford 12. A - 3,253.

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