Cavaliers vanquish Tigers

Virginia 14 Towson 7

College Lacrosse

March 20, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

At the very least, Towson University needed to play top-notch lacrosse yesterday just to have a chance at upsetting the visiting, high-powered, No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers.

The No. 15 Tigers never approached perfection at Johnny Unitas Stadium, and they paid the price for it.

Virginia, off to its first 8-0 start, looked every bit like the nation's top-rated offense from the outset, as the Cavaliers scored at will early and cruised to a 14-7 rout before 2,011.

The Cavaliers, who anticipate a No. 1 ranking today in light of Maryland's loss to unranked Bucknell last week, clicked everywhere with a big-time display of great passing and sharp shooting from inside and outside, and some acrobatics to boot.

Eight players scored, led by freshman attackman Garrett Billings and senior midfielder Matt Poskay, who each finished with three goals. Poskay added some flash with two behind-the-back scores. Sophomore attackman Ben Rubeor (Loyola) had two goals and three assists.

The Tigers (2-3) were in over their heads. The Cavaliers scored the game's first seven goals, took an 11-1 lead, and extended the advantage to 13-1 five minutes into the second half. They took turns abusing Towson goalies Mark DeGroat (one save) and Matt Antol (four), before emptying their bench by the start of the fourth quarter.

"They're better than anybody in the country. I've told everybody that for three weeks," Towson coach Tony Seaman said. "They have better athletes than we have on the field. When they play well, you're going to get beat.

"They just played as well as they could for a half, and we played as poorly as we could play. Everything went wrong that could possibly go wrong in a lacrosse game. Our goalies are both looking for their first save. We didn't give up. We weren't cheap. Those guys are really, really good."

Towson did little to help its cause. Junior Matt Eckerl won 13 of 22 faceoffs, but the Tigers squandered possession time constantly throughout the first three quarters. During that span, Towson committed 21 turnovers and botched six clears. And the Tigers shot abysmally. Only five of their 19 shots during the first three quarters were on goal.

On top of that, Towson, which will begin pursuing its fourth straight Colonial Athletic Association title this week, might have to do it for a while without senior attackman Steve Mull.

With 12:12 left in the second quarter, Mull went down with a sprained right ankle and had to be helped off the field. Mull, who was replaced by freshman Justin Schneider, has a team-high eight assists and could miss at least two weeks, Seaman said.

There was no stopping Virginia, which befuddled the Tigers with crisp ball movement and accurate shooting, and dictated the action in transition and in a six-on-six setting. The Cavaliers will play host to 14th-ranked Johns Hopkins on Saturday. There was no looking past Towson.

"We've got to be smart enough to know that if we take anything for granted, somebody is going to come back and bite you. I give our guys credit for getting right to it today," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said.

"I've got a group that pays attention. I've got a group that cares. I've got a group I don't have to hit over the head to do things the right way."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

Virginia 5 6 2 1 - 14

Towson 0 1 1 5 - 7

Goals: V-Poskay 3, Billings 3, Rubeor 2, Glading 2, Dixon, Thompson, Timms; T-Hagelin, Grillo, Bacon, Raszewski, Brakebill, Rosensweig, MacMullan. Assists: V-Rubeor 3, Ward 3, Gill 2, Dixon, Giannone, Morrissey, Thompson; T-Cunningham, Hagelin, Schneider. Saves: V-Turner 3, Petit 1, Brody 1; T-DeGroat 1, Antol 4.

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