March 10, 2007
TOWSON, Md. - The tenth-ranked University of Maryland men's lacrosse team stifled a comeback effort by the No. 13 Towson Tigers to pull out an 8-7 win Saturday afternoon in front of 3,445 fans at Unitas Stadium.
The Terps got off to a fast start in the first quarter with a pair of goals from junior All-America candidate Max Ritz. He scored his first goal on an assist form freshman midfielder Adam Sear, but the play began with a terrific effort by freshman long pole Brian Farrell. Farrell out-hustled his defender to the midfield line allowing Sear a clean run into the attack zone. That bit of breathing room allowed Sear the space to find Ritz on the right side of the crease, where he buried a shot over the left shoulder of Towson goalkeeper Matt Antol.
Ritz gave Maryland a 2-0 lead with 4:03 left in the quarter with a goal from just about the same spot on the field. Sophomore midfielder Jeremy Sieverts fought through three Tiger defenders to pick up a groundball and work his way to the front of the Towson goal. He lost the ball on a good check by a Tiger defender, but Ritz was there to scoop up the loose ball and lace a shot into the right side of the Towson goal.
The second quarter got off to a slow start, but the Terps drew first blood once again, this time on Sear's second goal of the season. The play started with freshman defensive midfielder Bryn Holmes' fifth caused turnover of the game. He pushed the ball into the attack zone. Sear took the ball at the top of the zone, dodged around a defender and bounced a shot into the top left corner of the goal.
Ritz scored his third of the game less than two minutes later on a give-and-go with junior midfielder Drew Evans to push Maryland out to a 4-0 lead.
Towson managed to get on the board with just three seconds left in the second quarter when Adam Hagelin rolled around the back right side of the crease and found a cutting Nick Williams, who scored his second goal of the season.
The Tigers refused to quit and showed at the third quarter face-off that there were not going away. Matt Eckerl, who won 14-of-18 draws on the afternoon, won his seventh face-off and raced down the right wing of Maryland's defensive zone. He skipped a shot from about nine yards out that bounced into the lower left corner of the Terrapin goal to cut the Maryland lead to 4-2.
Senior attackman Michael Phipps answered back for Maryland less than three minutes later with his first goal of the game. He scored his seventh of the season on a transition goal when sophomore Nick Ward found him with a perfect pass as Phipps was cut to the front of the Tiger goal.
Towson got off to another quick start in the fourth quarter as Eric Boyle scored on a skip-shot into the lower left corner to pull the Tigers to within two goals at the 14:38 mark.
Senior midfielder Thomas Alford gave Maryland a three-goal cushion with an unassisted goal at the 10:24 mark of the fourth. Alford dodged around a Tiger defender into the left alley and bounced a shot from 12 yards out for his fifth goal of the season.
Evans scored his fourth of the season less than three minutes later on an assisted by Ritz. The Ithaca, N.Y. native drilled a shot into the left side of the goal from 15 yards out directly in front of the Tiger net. Towson answered right back less than a minute later on Boyle's second goal of the game off an assist by Bobby Griebe to once again cut the Maryland lead to three.
The Terps' lead was cut to two, 7-5, at the 4:42 mark of the fourth when Hagelin scored his first of the game off an assist from Jonathan Engelke.
It looked like Towson was poised to trim the lead to one when Holmes was called for a slashing penalty at 4:28, but Maryland turned the tables and pushed the lead to three on a man-down goal by Farrell. The native of Towson, Md., took a pass from senior All-American Steve Whittenberg near midfield and raced the length of the field, bouncing a shot past Antol from seven yards out.
Towson made a late push as Justin Schneider scored an unassisted goal at the 1:37 mark to trim the deficit to two at 8-6.
An offside penalty with ten seconds to go gave Towson an extra-man opportunity and the Tigers took advantage as Schneider cashed in with his second-straight goal to pull Towson to within a goal of the Terps at 8-7.
The Tigers had one last shot to tie the game when Eckerl won the ensuing face-off and fired a desperation shot from the left wing, but senior defensive midfielder Jimmy Borell made sure the shot never got to the Maryland net by jumping in front of it and blocking it with his body.
Freshman goalie Brian Phipps turned in his finest performance of the season, stopping a career-best 16 shots and picking up four groundballs. Holmes also had a career-day for the Terps on defense, posting career highs with five caused turnovers and eight groundballs.
Maryland's starting close defense of Whittenberg, Ray Megill and Joe Cinosky, along with long pole Ryan Clarke, turned in a fine performance, totaling seven groundballs and three caused turnovers while holding Towson's starting attack and first midfield to just one goal.
Maryland (3-2) returns to action on Tuesday, March 13, when it plays host to Lafayette. That game is scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. start at Ludwig Field.
With today's 3-2 win Maryland is 23-5 all-time vs. Towson and 13-0 all-time in games played at Towson.
With three goals and an assist Max Ritz now has four hat tricks, 12 multi-goal and 17 multi-point games in his career.
The three-point game is also Ritz's sixth-straight game with multiple points and his fifth straight with at least three points.
Michael Phipps pushed his point-scoring streak to six games with his third-quarter goal.
Nick Ward extended his point-scoring streak to four games with his assist of Michael Phipps' goal in the third quarter.
Brian Farrell's man-down goal, which proved to be the game-winner, was Maryland's third man-down goal of the season.
The Terrapin defense held the Tigers without a goal for 29:57, which is the fourth time this season that Maryland has held an opponent scoreless for 20+ minutes.
Maryland's "D" also shutout the Tigers in the first quarter, giving the Terps its fourth shutout quarter of the season.