Towson State, the defending champion, and No. 1 seed, opened a 5-1 lead, then turned to a delay game to thwart the upset bid of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, 8-5, in the semifinals of the ninth annual East Coast Conference women's lacrosse tournament at Towson yesterday.
Delaware, a four-time titlist, set up a rematch of last year's final when it pulled away from Drexel in the second half for a 14-6 triumph in the other semifinal. The two winners will play for the title today at 1 p.m.
Senior Kelly Bush, the ECC's leader in assists (37) and points (50), led Towson State (8-6) with four assists, three of them in the first half. UMBC trailed, 5-2, at the half, and the two teams alternated second-half goals.
UMBC (5-9) had been hammered by Towson, 18-6, during the regular season, but played its best game of the year, especially on defense, in battling the Tigers on even terms much of the way. Jenny Held and Kelly Archambo paced the Retriever attack with two goals each.
"It was a matter of pride," UMBC coach Kathy Zerlaut said. "We knew we were better than that first game. We spent two days last week on our crease defense and it paid off."