Towson finds its offense and beats Mount St. Mary's, 11-3

Tigers create matchup problems by shifting midfield, targeting short-stick defenders

March 05, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

EMMITSBURG — — The Towson men's lacrosse team can recall those "Lost" fliers — for now.

Embroiled in their own head-scratching version of "Where's Waldo?," the Tigers rediscovered their offense in scoring the game's first four goals and cruising to an 11-3 thumping of host Mount St. Mary's before 483 at the Waldron Family Stadium Saturday afternoon.

It took Towson just 2 minutes, 39 seconds to match their offensive output in a 3-2 loss to No. 11 Loyola eight days ago. And the six goals the offense scored in the first half matched the season high the Tigers scored in a four-goal setback to No. 9 Johns Hopkins in their season opener two weeks ago.

"It's a big relief," said sophomore attackman Matt Hughes, who led all scorers with four points on three goals and one assist, all in the first half. "We've been slow to get started, but we know we have the firepower to be one of the top teams in the country. We just had to get it going, and today was a good day to do it."

Towson's offensive numbers were significantly better across the board. The unit's total of 46 shots against the Mountaineers was just four shy of the combined sum in the first two games, its 25 shots on net were two more than its season total, and it converted 3-of-6 extra-man chances after going 0-for-6 previously.

The Tigers (1-2) proved especially adept at attacking Mount St. Mary's short-stick defensive midfielders and forcing slides that created opportunities in front of the cage. Three of Towson's first five goals were a result of match-ups with defensive midfielders.

"What we tried to do after last week was move some people around, midfield-wise, so that our best dodgers were out there," coach Tony Seaman said. "And whoever would get the shorty could give it a try, and it worked out real well for us."

Armed with a 6-2 advantage at halftime, Towson scored the first four goals of the second half. That had been a problem for the Tigers, who had been outscored 8-3 in the third and fourth quarters this season.

Towson thrived on the defensive end, too. After junior midfielder Bryant Schmidt slipped a shot between the legs of senior goalkeeper Travis Love (11 saves) with 3:36 left in the second quarter, the Mountaineers did not get another goal until senior midfielder Brendan Harrison fed sophomore attackman Andrew Scalley for a behind-the-back tally with 3:39 left in the fourth — a scoreless drought of 29:57.

"Our defense is playing really well," Seaman said. "We're giving up shots that our goalie can save. That's huge."

Scalley led Mount St. Mary's (0-2) with two goals, but Tigers close defensemen Marc Ingerman and Michael Landy shut out junior attackmen Brett Schmidt and Cody Lehrer, respectively.

After the game, the Mountaineers held a closed-door team meeting that lasted about 15 minutes. Coach Tom Gravante, who said the meeting emphasized following the scouting report, said the team couldn't afford to fall behind to Towson.

"In this game, you can't spot teams opportunities and expect to get back in the game," he said. "If you're going to give a team the opportunity to hit the cage, all they have to do is connect the dots, and that's what worried me. I knew Towson was capable of scoring goals."

Notes: The Tigers improved to 6-1 against Mount St. Mary's. … Towson freshmen midfielders Andrew Hodgson and Thomas DeNapoli each recorded the first goals of their careers. Hodgson, who scored twice, also posted his first assist. … Scalley has scored a point in 19 straight contests.

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