UMBC's Blevins stymies Towson

Point-blank saves preserve victory

No. 19 UMBC 11 No. 13 Towson 9

April 04, 2007|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN REPORTER

UMBC goalie Jeremy Blevins needs no motivation when he plays Towson University.

His twin brother, Phil, is a reserve midfielder for the Tigers.

"I definitely circled this one," Blevins said. "It's always good to go against your brother and come out on top."

Blevins, all 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds of him, came up huge in the Retrievers' 11-9 victory last night at UMBC Stadium. The Tigers pumped out five goals in the first 20 minutes, but scored just two over the next 30 and got their only scores in the final 10 when Blevins was working a man down.

UMBC, No. 19 in The Sun rankings, beat Towson for the first time since 2003. After the No. 13 Tigers' three-game win streak disappeared into Blevins' stick, he was engulfed in a sea of Retrievers' white jerseys.

"Give their goalie a tremendous amount of credit," Towson coach Tony Seaman said. "I counted five point-blank shots in the fourth quarter alone that he stopped."

A sophomore out of Calvert Hall, Blevins was an All-Metro first-team selection in 2004 and the America East Conference Rookie of the Year last season. He finished with 14 saves yesterday.

Coming off a 13-9 loss at America East power Albany, UMBC was missing defenseman Dan Carmack.

"Our defense just needed to settle down," coach Don Zimmerman said.

That came easy, thanks to Blevins in the back.

"Once I get confidence, the defense gets confidence, and the whole team gets confidence," Blevins said.

By the Retrievers' standards, this was a romp, as their three previous wins at home had all included ties in the fourth quarter. Attackman Cayle Ratcliffe and midfielder Alex Hopmann had three goals apiece, and combined for three assists.

The two combined to put UMBC (5-4) ahead to stay at 8-7 with 9:23 left in the third quarter when Ratcliffe fed Hopmann. Ratcliffe got what held up as the game-winner with 10:49 left in the fourth quarter when he gave the Retrievers a 10-7 lead.

Both goals came in extra-man situations, as did all of Hopmann's, tying a school record. UMBC had seven such opportunities and converted four, as Towson (5-3) was guilty of slashing, unnecessary roughness, delay of game and an unsportsmanlike conduct on Nick Williams.

That last one set up Hopmann's game-winner.

Seaman was asked his thoughts.

"My thoughts can't be printed," the coach said. "It's amazing, ironic. We lectured from Saturday to today that we didn't want to allow this team man-up opportunities. We didn't listen very well. That's a lack of discipline sometimes.

"I don't mind a penalty that occurs from playing hard, but the penalty against Nick Williams for conduct was ridiculous."

The Tigers' blunders included a blown clear that Ratcliffe controlled and fired into an open net. Matt Antol, a Loyola High product who used to go head-to-head against Blevins in the MIAA A Conference, was just as solid, as he had 16 saves.

Towson got two goals apiece from Cryder DiPietro and Jonathan Engelke, and a goal and three assists from Bobby Griebe.

Faceoffs continue to be an issue for the Tigers minus Matt Eckerl, who went down with a groin pull in the third period of a St. Patrick's Day loss at Virginia.

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

Towson 2 4 1 2 - 9

UMBC 2 4 2 3 - 11

Goals: T-Engelke 2, DiPietro 2, Griebe, Schneider, Cooper, Boyle, Vetter. U-Ratcliffe 3, Hopmann 3, Westervelt 2, Kimener, Gallagher, Moulden. Assists: T-Griebe 3, Obloj, Schneider, Williams. U-Kimener 2, Ratcliffe 2, Hopmann, Westervelt. Saves: T-Antol 16. U-Blevins 14.

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