The two best players were on the opposite ends of the field Tuesday night, and they both played for Towson.
Tigers junior attackman Thomas DeNapoli finished with seven goals and three assists, and senior goalie Andrew Wascavage made 15 saves as Towson defeated UMBC, 12-9, before an announced 545 at UMBC Stadium.
DeNapoli, from East Rockaway, N.Y, was unstoppable and at times looked like NBA star LeBron James. He called for the ball. He waved his teammates out of the way. When he was double-teamed, he dished off and handed out assists.
The Retrievers couldn't control him.
"I guess I was feeling it out there tonight," DeNapoli said. "I struggled the last two games, so I definitely needed this game to bounce back. I started feeling it in warm-ups, shooting it pretty nice. I started off with five goals, and started getting some assists in there. ...
"It was awesome. I probably never felt that confident in a game before, just letting it rip. But good things were happening so I kept shooting."
Wascavage wasn't as dominant, but just as successful. UMBC could have done some serious damage in the first quarter, but Wascavage made six saves.
DeNapoli turned the game in Towson's favor midway in the fourth quarter. His over-the-shoulder assist across the crease to attackman Cory Dobyns gave the Tigers (4-5) a 10-8 lead with 8:41 left.
He scored on a long shot from just inside the restraining line on an extra-man opportunity 30 seconds later.
DeNapoli assisted on another goal to Dobyns with 6:33 left remaining, and UMBC (2-5) never recovered.
UMBC was ahead 7-5 late in the first half, but the Tigers scored two goals in the last two minutes of the second quarter to tie the game. Towson midfielder Ben McCarty scored on a high shot with 1:37 left, and DeNapoli scored on an assist from midfielder Greg Cuccinello with 51 seconds remaining.
The Retrievers outplayed the Tigers for most of a sloppy first half, but they couldn't take a big lead because they had no answer for DeNapoli.
UMBC outshot Towson, 21-19, in the first half and won 11 of 16 face-offs, but the Retrievers also had six turnovers.
UMBC had a 4-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. Towson's Andrew Hodgson tied the game at 3-3 on a long-range shot with 1:31 left in the period, but UMBC's Neill Lewnes answered with one of his own 20 seconds later.
The Retrievers had three two-goal leads in the third quarter, but they couldn't control the pace of the game. DeNapoli had five goals in the first half, and he constantly beat UMBC defenders from around the crease and behind the net.
Midfielder Pat Young scored three goals for the Retrievers, but he was slowed by what was believed to be a hamstring injury early in the third quarter and was out of the game later in the period.
DeNapoli continued his dominance in the third quarter. After UMBC took an 8-7 lead with 3:58 left in the period on a goal from midfielder Scott Jones, DeNapoli scored with 2:37 remaining and then dished off to midfielder Brian Bolewicki for a goal nearly a minute later as Towson held a 9-8 lead at the end of the period.
Wascavage had four saves in the third period as UMBC outshot the Tigers, 9-7, in the quarter.
"We went in at halftime and talked about our intensity and we picked it up in the second half," Wascavage said. "Our problem was getting ground balls and I left some rebounds out there I shouldn't have. We needed to man up, step up, play hard and not play soft."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun