Delaware deals Towson heartbreak with :04 left

Tigers' NCAA aspirations probably are dashed

Delaware 13 Towson 12

College Lacrosse

May 04, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

Towson had never lost a Colonial Athletic Association tournament game before last night. Then, Delaware junior midfielder Dan Deckelbaum ended that winning streak and most likely ended the Tigers' hopes of making their 10th NCAA men's lacrosse tournament.

With four seconds left in a semifinal contest at Johnny Unitas Stadium, Deckelbaum rolled to his left, used his right arm to break free of Towson midfielder Nick Williams, then bounced a 12-yard shot off goalie Mark DeGroat's knee to lift Delaware to a dramatic 13-12 victory before 1,118 .

The victory sends No. 19 Delaware (12-4) into Saturday's CAA title game at No. 2 Hofstra, and it virtually knocks the 11th -ranked Tigers (8-6) out of the NCAA tournament. Towson, CAA champs the previous three years, lost its first conference tournament game in seven tries, and dropped its fourth one-goal decision of the season doing it.

The Tigers, who rallied from an early 7-2 deficit and tied the game twice in the fourth quarter, including a goal by junior midfielder Oliver Bacon with 31 seconds left that knotted the game at 12-12, went 3-4 in one-goal contests this season. Tow son leads the country with seven games decided by a goal.

"I think we're done. I don't see much of a chance. There's too many bubble teams out there." said Towson coach Tony Sea man, whose team also suffered one-goal losses to Johns Hopkins, Hofstra and Binghamton. "We've played some really good teams really tough, but you've got to win a couple of them. We had to win the one tonight."

Deckelbaum led the Blue Hens with three goals. Junior attackman Cam Howard had two goals and a game-high five assists. Sophomore midfielder Brian Vetter led Towson with three goals. Senior attackman Steve Mull had a team-high four assists.

And on a night that often was not kind to either goalie, Delaware sophomore Tommy Scherr (17 saves) got the best of Towson senior Mark DeGroat (eight saves).

In a first half that featured an occasional hint of defense, Towson scored the game's first two goals, surrendered seven straight scores to the Blue Hens, then went on a 6-2 run before giving up a goal with four seconds left to fall behind at halftime, 10-8 .

The Tigers blew a chance to grab a sizable early lead. Junior midfielder Matt Eckerl won six of the game's first eight faceoff attempts over Delaware junior midfielder Alex Smith, who entered the contest having won 71.1 percent of his chances, tops in the nation. But Towson shot just 2-for-14 in the first quarter and got stuffed six times by Scherr.

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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