More than 7,400 fans saw Towson State beat Johns Hopkins on a playground goal with one second left yesterday at Homewood Field, but few of them believed it.
"It was a 100-1 shot, and it worked," said Joe Genovese, who scored the incredible goal that gave No. 7 Towson a 14-13 victory over No. 4 Hopkins in probably the most thrilling game in this emotional series.
"It will never happen again," said John Blatchley, who somehow managed to toss the ball perfectly from the far left corner of the field to Genovese in front of the goal on a restart with only four seconds on the clock. "I've seen this play work in summer leagues, but never in the NCAA."
Genovese caught the ball amid a crowd of Hopkins defenders and shoveled the ball toward the net.
Then the fun really began.
The ball hit the pipe, bounded up and hit the crossbar, rattled along the crossbar and then fell amazingly into the net with one second left.
Several minutes after the ball went in the goal, one stunned Hopkins assistant coach asked: "What happened?"
Genovese tried to explain: "I was on the crease, and I told John [Blatchley] where to put it, and he got the ball right where I wanted it, and I quick-sticked it to Scotty G's [Hopkins goalkeeper Giardina] off side. It went off the pipe and the crossbar and rolled in."
Blatchley said he knew four seconds wasn't enough time for him to run approximately 20 yards toward the goal from the left corner and set up a play.
"So I flipped the quick pass to Joe," the senior Towson attackman said. "We've been working on this play the last three or four weeks, but I guess we never really expected to use it."
Genovese also scored the goal that tied the score at 13 with 9:39 left and finished with four goals and three assists.
Sophomore Johns Hopkins attackman Brian Piccola said he figured the final four seconds were "just a formality" before overtime.
"I just turned and walked away," said Piccola, who was at the other end of the field at his attack position. "And the next thing I know the ball was in the goal and people were jumping up and down. It was a fluke goal, but it counted. They just tossed the ball in the air toward the crease and somehow got a goal."
It was a bitter loss for Piccola, who scored three goals and had three assists to lead a methodical Hopkins charge back from an 8-0 deficit into a 12-11 lead with 9:22 left.
Towson State came out and scored eight goals in the first 11:19.
Freshman midfielder Tim Lucky dominated the faceoffs for Towson in the first quarter, sparking the early surge against a Hopkins team that has now lost to Towson State only twice in 17 games.
The Tigers continued to lead, 9-1, in the second quarter on an unusually hot day (80 degrees), and Towson coach Carl Runk began to rest his first two midfields for the second half.
But his midfielders and his entire team grew tired in the second half when Hopkins began to dominate with a controlled offense.
hTC And when the Blue Jays had a 30-second extra-man opportunity with 54 seconds left and the score tied at 13, it looked as if Hopkins might complete the superb comeback.
But Towson goalie Jerry DeLorenzo made two outstanding saves during the Hopkins man-advantage situation and a third Blue Jays shot was halted by Tigers defenseman Jason Scarborough.
"I thought we were going to win it on that late extra-man opportunity," Hopkins coach Tony Seaman said. "I don't know how DeLorenzo made a couple of those saves. We had been scoring on most of our extra-man situations."
DeLorenzo, a transfer from Syracuse, also made a great save off a shot by freshman Hopkins attackman Terry Riordan with 2:42 left and the score tied at 13.
Riordan, who had three goals yesterday and now has 30 for the season, fell to his knees in disbelief after DeLorenzo made the save.
DeLorenzo was credited with 12 saves yesterday, but it appeared he made a lot more.
"Coach Runk wanted me when almost no one else did," DeLorenzo said. "I love him for it. Loyola coach Dave Cottle showed no interest in me, but I don't hold any grudges against him. I'm happy at Towson."
Runk said: "Jerry DeLorenzo has been a major addition to our team. I believe it was a keepers' game and he did the job for us. I love Joey Genovese for that great play at the end. We really didn't have much hope to score, but we just set up things as best we could for that situation."
Runk added: "The ball just rolled right for us a few times in that first quarter when we got all those goals and that was probably the difference in addition to the keepers."
The victory might give Towson State (9-2) a chance for the No. 4 seed in the 12-team NCAA lacrosse tournament. Hopkins (6-4) lost its hopes for the No. 4 seed and a bye in the first round.
Tournament field selected today
The fields for the NCAA 12-team Division I and eight-team Division III lacrosse tournaments will be selected today by a committee chaired by Georgetown coach Dave Urick.
The top four teams in Division I will receive first-round byes and advance to the May 16 quarterfinals. The other eight teams will play next Saturday on campus sites. The semifinals and final are May 23 and 25 at the University of Pennsylvania.
Division III tournament quarterfinals will be played May 10, followed by the semifinals May 17, all on campus sites. The final will be May 24 at Penn.