Second-half surge lifts Towson to win

Tigers advance to CAA final to face Delaware

No. 14 Towson 11 Hofstra 5

College Lacrosse

May 03, 2007|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN REPORTER

Nineteen days ago, the Hofstra men's lacrosse team came to Towson University, erased a two-goal deficit in the final minute of regulation, then broke the Tigers' hearts in overtime.

Last night, in the semifinal round of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, 14th-ranked, top-seeded Towson left no room for the fourth-seeded Pride to spring another upset.

Senior attackman Bobby Griebe scored all four of his goals in a second half dominated by Towson, which freed itself from Hofstra's slow-down, ball-control tempo and crushed the Pride, 11-5, before 1,076 at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The victory sends Towson (9-5) into Saturday night's CAA final against visiting third seed Delaware, which beat second seed Drexel, 11-7, in the other semifinal last night. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Tigers did it with two distinct looks. In the first half, they had trouble getting and retaining the ball. Hofstra (6-8) clutched it relentlessly, while taking a 2-1 halftime lead.

Then came the 10-goal eruption. Starting with a game-tying goal by Timmy Andre, who beat a defender on the wing and crashed into the crease before scoring with 13:24 left in the third quarter, the rest of the night was all Towson.

The Tigers scored the first five goals of the half - three by Griebe (Boys' Latin) - in a span of 7:42. Griebe's last goal of the run, a high, 7-yarder from the left wing, gave Towson a 6-2 lead with 5:42 left in the third, and the Tigers were on their way.

"Timmy Andre ignited our spark. When I get a chance to score, I've got to do it," said Griebe, who also scored on a behind-the-back shot in close early in the fourth quarter to make it 7-3. "I've been here for five years, and that's probably the best half of lacrosse I've seen us play."

Towson was thorough. Its defense dug in from the outset, and junior goalie Matt Antol made eight of his 12 saves in the first half.

In the second half, it all came together. Senior Matt Eckerl won seven of 15 faceoffs to give the Tigers the ball enough to do some damage. The offense came alive. And the defense extended its pressure and forced nine of Hofstra's 12 turnovers.

Hofstra, which had suffered all seven losses by one goal before last night, went down with a thud.

"It certainly wasn't how I had it written," said Seth Tierney, Hofstra's first-year coach and the former assistant head coach at Johns Hopkins. "[Towson] got on a run I thought we were going to get. Mentally, losing seven games by a goal, then finishing it with this one, it's pretty tough to take."

Before last night, the Pride had allowed only one opponent to score in double digits against them. Towson did it in a 30-minute span, scoring five times each in the third and fourth quarters. The Tigers outshot Hofstra 24-8 in the second half, and won the ground ball battle 30-14 after halftime.

"Our defense was swarming all over [Hofstra]. We played extremely good defense the entire night," said Towson coach Tony Seaman, who added he thought the Tigers had clinched an at-large NCAA bid last night.

It was just a matter of getting an offensive run going in the second half, after the Tigers had been held scoreless for the final 28:53 of the opening half.

"Can somebody get us going? Can we get a lead? Can we stop them from taking a half-hour with every possession?" Seaman added. "I think we got looser after [Andre scored]."

Hofstra 2 0 1 2 - 5

Towson 1 0 5 5 - 11

Goals: H-Miller 2, Interlicchio, Muscarella, Stein; T-Griebe 4, Cooper 3, Batton, Williams, Smedley, Andre. Assists: H-Interlicchio, Colleluori; T-Schneider 2, Vetter 2, Engelke, Hagelin, Latonick. Saves: H-Orlando 9. T-Antol 12; A: 1,076.

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