Towson Rallies Late to Edge Men's Lacrosse, 12-11

Towson, Md.- The UMBC men's lacrosse team built an 11-8 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but could not hang on and were edged, 12-11, by No. 19 Towson at Johnny Unitas Stadium.


The loss negated outstanding offensive efforts by junior attackmen Scott Jones (4 goals, 1 assist) and Joe Lustgarten (4 assists) and junior midfielder Scott Hopmann (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary's) , who scored a season-high four points (3 goals, 1 assist).


The game was tied after each of the first three quarters and the teams entered the fourth tied at 8-all. UMBC took control as sophomore attackman Matt Gregoire (Crofton, Md./South River) opened the stanza by finishing inside on a feed from freshman M/A Derek Bertolini (Madison, Conn.) 3:24 into the stanza. Jones scored his third goal of the game 56 seconds later, converting a pass from Hopmann and the Retrievers built the lead to 11-8 when Jones finished on the doorstep on a Lustgarten pass from behind.


But Retriever miscues cost them in the final 7:30 of the game. Towson's Thomas DeNapoli raked in a loose ball in front of the Retriever goal at the 7:30 mark to cut the lead to 11-9 and, after UMBC could not convert on a man-up opportunity, DeNapoli shaved the margin to 11-10 on a goal from the left side with 3:43 remaining.


Towson won the ensuing draw, but the Retriever defense responded with a blocked shot, resulting in a fast-break opportunity, but UMBC could not convert. Junior netminder Adam Cohen (Arnold, Md./Severn) made a save on Towson's next offensive possession, but the Retrievers turned it over on the clearing attempt. The Tigers reversed field and tied the game by finishing on a 4-on-3 break as Matt Hughes knotted the game at 11-all with 1:06 remaining.


On the game-deciding draw, the ball was loose by the sideline and UMBC was penalized for cross-check and the Tigers went man-up with 51 seconds to play. After failing on their first three attempts, the hosts got the ball inside, and Sean Maguire scored the game-winner with 17 seconds to play.


Towson (7-3) won the game's final draw and recorded its fifth consecutive victory. UMBC slipped to 3-5 on the season in its final non-conference game of the season.


UMBC outshot Towson, 42-30, but Towson junior goalkeeper Andrew Wascavage made a career-high 17 saves. Cohen had a season-low seven stops for the Retrievers.


Gregoire added two goals for UMBC, while Bertolini and senior midfielder Rob Grimm (Black River, N.Y.) had two assists apiece. The four assists were a career-best effort for Lustgarten (Wading River, N.Y.), the reigning America East Player of the Week.


DeNapoli and Carl Iacona led Towson with three goals each.


Both teams had two leads in the first half as the game was equalized on all four occasions. The Retrievers got the opening goal on Jones' 19th score of the season at the 6:35 mark of the first quarter. After Towson scored a pair of goals, Hopmann tied it on a goal from the left wing with 2:05 to play in the stanza and the game was deadlocked, 2-2, after 15 minutes.


Hopmann gave UMBC its second lead at 4-3 on his second score of the night with 3:52 to play in the half, but Iacona completed his hat trick with 1:03 remaining and the game was even again at 4-4 heading to the break.


The Tigers grabbed their first two-goal lead of the night, scoring twice in the first four minutes of the third quarter, but UMBC responded with a 4-0 run as four different players scored to give the visitors their first two-goal cushion of the night at 8-6 with 6:59 remaining in the third quarter. The hosts tied the score with two goals in a 42-second span, setting the stage for the climatic final stanza.


Jones has put together back-to-back five-point games and has recorded multiple points in 13 of his last 14 efforts.


UMBC scored on 2-of-3 extra-man opportunities and are now 6-of-8 in their last two contests.


The Retrievers will head for Vermont on Friday to prepare for a Saturday afternoon America East affair with the Catamounts.