The Towson Tigers and the Maryland Terrapins were so closely matched coming into this game that you knew it was going to be a classic. In fact, after three quarters of play the score was deadlocked at ten to set the stage for the dramatic finish. In the end it would be some late Tiger heroics coming in the last minute to come back from 11-10 to take a 12-11 victory. Tiger middie Hunter Lochte had to play with the #41 instead of his usual #40 due to a misplaced jersey, but after his winning goal he may just stick with his new lucky number.
The field conditions at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland were slick with it drizzling at times. The Tigers, who play on turf at home, seemed to struggle with their footing more than the Terps(especially on offense). Players like Towson middie Brian Meyers who depend on strong cuts on their way to the goal struggled so it became a passing game more than a dodging one.
Towson raced out to a 5-1 opening first quarter before falling asleep in the last 30 seconds to allow three goals in just 22 seconds(a Maryland record). They led 8-6 at the half, but Maryland picked up on their defense sluffing inside and leaving backside players wide open. They picked on that during the third quarter to come back and tie it 10-10. The fourth quarter was sloppy, but the Terps managed to get Buggs Combs his 50th goal(the second player to reach that mark in a single season for the Terps in history). It seemed like it might end that way until Towson scored two in the last minute.
Towson decided to shut Combs off with a short stick and use their lonsticks for the dodgers. It worked as Combs had two goals, but the way he got them belied the defensive scheme. Towson slao got to use two longsticks on face-offs as Justin Berry won the opening face. One of the longsticks mishandled the ball for Maryland to start the game on offense. They moved the ball around the perimeter deliberately to get everyone a touch and ease into the game. Finally, at the 13:51 mark middie Alex Poole made the first move towards cage. He split to his left and came down the left side to beat Towson goalie Horrigan high, 1-0. The Terps won the next face and Chris Malone came straight down the middle without being picked up due to mis-communication. Just before he got a shot off his stick got checked to avoid the two goal deficit. Maryland attacker Mike Mollot blew by his man from behind on the inbound, but Horrigan stuffed the low diving shot coming around to his right. At 12:39 Josh Tankersley did his best impression of Poole's earlier goal, only he shot low to beat McGinnis, 1-1. The Tigers controlled the ensuing face and set up Kyle Cambell for the first of three scores from the same spot. Hunter Lochte, a middie, had the ball from behind and simply hit the wingman out to McGinnis' right as his defender got caught looking. Cambell ripped a sidearm crank high, 2-1. Towson had to play defense next, but cleared and in the process Maryland attacker Mollott took a minute penalty. On the man-up Towson moved the ball crisply as they moved from a circle formation to a 3-3 to a 3-2-1. In the confusion Brad Monaco hit Tankersley in the low right hand crank spot for a wicked shot to the upper right, 3-1. Berry came away clean with the next face, but Maryland took a stand. Towson answered playing tough "D" and got their fourth goal. Lochte got the jump coming out of the box with both teams subbing and got a pass to break into the middle wide open. When the slide came from the opposite side Campbell was wide open for the same shot and he buried it again, 4-1.
Longpole Danny Cocchi took a foolish penalty hitting a Terp well after the whistle, but Horrigan bailed him out with a save on Craig Hochstadt to kill penalty. With 4:44 left in the first Tankersley drove down the left side and tucked his stick to the outside and after he got by he brought it to the inside before falling forward. He bounced it by McGinnis to take a commanding 5-1 lead.
Maryland stormed back however with three goals in 22 seconds. Mollot who usually works from "X" took longpole Adam Baxter(who did a great job on him all day for the most part) from the top and split to the right. The defense shifted and Dan Lamonica snuck out from behind to catch the feed to Horrigan's right and dunk, 5-2. Next, middie Nate watkins scooped the ball for the Terps off the face and led fast break down right side. He fed Lamonica for an identical tally. Finally, with three seconds to go Lamonica got the ball behind and drove to his left. He found a streaking Watkins down the right side for a quick stick and a 5-4 end to the first quarter.
Towson started on offense, but players were slipping and sliding all over the place. Maryland cleared for Mollott to work on Baxter again. This time Baxter won the battle with a well timed check to make Mollot throw out of bounds. Towson continued to struggle on offense as twice the terps got the ball, but they failed to clear both times and the second time cost them. Reppert got the ball away from a defender and sent it to Ryan Obloj who played give and go with Kyle Cambell freezing the lone defender in between. Obloj eventually took a left hand shot to beat McGinnis from point blank range, 6-4. Maryland took to the offense after the next face, but Danny Cocchi picked up a feed that got knocked down at the side of Towson's goal. Cocchi ran the length of the field down the right side and hooked in towards the cage. Just before he ran out of angle he bounced one inches away from McGinnis' right foot as he was hugging the post, 7-4.
The Terps took a penalty for pushing the goalie, but when attackman Brad Reppert dove in the crease he didn't score and Maryland killed it. At the (:13 mark Maryland narrowed the gap. Mollot and Lamonica used a little pick and roll type play behind and it allowed Lamonica to get a couple of steps as he sprinted to the far pipe coming around lefty. The adjacent slide came and he hit Chris Malone for the quick stick, 7-5. Maryland went on "O" again and Towson turned them away. Baxter took an over-aggressive penalty when he slashed the down and out Hochstadt to put the Terps man-up. The Tigers knocked down a feed and Horrigan came out of net to clear. He got jumped by two and lost possession. Somehow he regained it and chucked it downfield. An alert longpole snagged it and fired at the empty net. The shot was on target, but the sprinting Horrigan got back in the nick of time. In the melee Horrigan got pushed from behind to put the Tigers man-up. On the man-up Reppert snuck out from behind the cage to McGinnis' right and caught the diagonal pass from up top before faking low and burying high, 8-5. The teams went back and forth for a while before Chris Malone inbounded the ball along goal line extended to Horrigan's right after a timeout. The face dodge was successful and the slide was late as he scored to make it 8-6.
Coach Edell must have made mention to the Terps that Towson was cheating to the ball bigtime on defense. This allowed guys on the backside to be wide open all the time. The Terps successfully capitalized on it to close the gap by the end of the third quarter.
People say that Buggs Combs is on dimensional, but his dimension is a damn good one. Horrigan stopped a shot from the outside and the rebound couldn't of been more than six inches out of his stick when Combs snatched it and threw it into the cage. Horrigan was calling for interference, but the goal was good to make it 8-7. Reppert dinged one off the inside pipe for Towson before Maryland tied the game at 8:41. The Terps found the backside guy in Malone to Horrigan's right form the top diagonal spot. He was wide open for the goal, 8-8. Mollot took the lead back for Maryland for the first time since their first goal at 7:53. He split down the left side and ripped one off Horrigan's left shoulder into the net, 9-8. With the lead the Terps looked to slow things down on offense. After a minute they decided to make a move by feeding the crease, but it was wild. After a long period of sloppy up and down play the Tigers tied it at nine with 2:12 left in the third. Jay Horowitz broke free on the way down and never got picked up. The Terps snatched the lead back with 1:06 left. Paul Gilette swept from left to right and got a step drawing the adjacent slide from the low wingman. The defender got caught in between so Gillette popped to James Daue for lefty score, 10-9. The limping face-off man for Towson, Justin berry, managed to win the next face clean, hobble down field, split two defenders and blow one by McGinnis stickside high, 10-10. He had to take a break after that as the pain became unbearable.
Berry started the 4th quarter doing the same thing, but instead of making the pass he decided to shoot again. This time the poor placement turned out to be an easy save for McGinnis. Towson and Maryland tightened up and the play became very defensive. The ball spent much time on the ground and neither team looked good. With 8:07 the Terps finally broke the ice when Combs got his 50th goal of the season. With short stick Hunter Lochte draped over him he managed to convert a Lamonica feed from behind. Lochte couldn't of played it any better, it was just an incredible play, 11-10. Sloppy play continued. At 4:15 Towson's Kevin Meyran got called for interference on the crease. Towson was able to kill the penalty, but the Terps held the ball for an astounding length of time. It wasn't until the 1:23 mark that Towson cleared and drew a penalty in the process. Dan Lamonica went to the box for a 30 second push. Towson set up Lochte for the hardest shot of the day. This lefty laser from the top sailed high and had to be in the hich 90's. Kyle Campbell inbounded and gave it back to Lochte who took the sweetest shot of these play-offs yet. This thing pinged the upper right corner perfectly. McGinnis didn't have a chance.
The next face couldn't of been any more dramatic. The ball came off the mark and rolled into Towson's defensive restraining box. The ball was kicked, goosed, picked up, and knocked down before squirting towards the players bench. A longstick picked it up and hit an anticipating longstick cross field breaking out. The pass was on the money and longpole Neil Adams led the classic 4 on 3 fast break down the right side. The rotation came so he moved it across to Obloj who dumped down to Campbell. Campbell stuck it in the upper right for the 12-11 victory. Berry won the next face and after a time out Lochte ran out the clock.
|Daniel Lamonica||(2, 3)|
|Chris Malone||(3, 0)|
|Andrew Combs||(2, 0)|
|Nate Watkins||(1, 1)|
|Mike Mollot||(1, 1)|
|Mike Lamonica||(0, 1)|
|James Daue||(1, 0)|
|Alex Poole||(1, 0)|
|Paul Gillette||(0, 1)|
|Pat Mcginnis||12 (0.500)|