Maryland freshman goalkeeper Brian Dougherty had 18 saves yesterday in his first collegiate start, including several from point-blank range. He was emotional but poised, running the defense like a veteran. He cleared the ball with relative ease, sometimes coming out of the goal and improvising to create a fast break.
It was a day he never will forget.
But what Dougherty will remember most is that his play may have earned Maryland a trip to the 1993 NCAA 12-team Division I playoffs as the Terps defeated Towson State, 11-8, yesterday before 1,034 at Minnegan Stadium.
It was a must-win situation for both teams yesterday. Towson (5-5) was ranked 14th in the USILA poll and the Terps (5-5) were No. 13.
But Dougherty and Maryland attackmen Matt Parks (four goals) and Rob Chomo (two) were too much for Towson, which seemed to be feeling the effects of an 11-9 loss to Johns Hopkins on Saturday night. The Tigers had a 7-1 lead with 12:46 left in the third quarter before losing.
Now, it's almost impossible for Towson to get a bid, but Maryland still has an outside chance with only Saturday's game against UMBC left on the schedule. The selection committee will announce the field Sunday night.
"I was a little nervous, I didn't know I was starting until five minutes before the game," said Dougherty, from Philadelphia, who replaced junior Matt Back.
"I had watched Towson play against Johns Hopkins on Saturday night and I thought those guys [Towson] were really good," he said. "But they didn't play as well today. I'm glad the coach showed the confidence to start me in a game like this. I got my confidence and became comfortable after the first clear because I'm the type of goalkeeper that likes to move around a lot."
Actually, Dougherty has done very little moving this season except from one end of the bench to the other. He had played in only four quarters, his most extensive action in the Terps' 21-5 win against VMI on Saturday in which he played three quarters and had six saves.
But Maryland coach Dick Edell said he has been impressed with Dougherty since the first week of the season.
And when Back, who has been inconsistent this season despite a .642 save percentage, struggled in pre-game warm-ups, Edell decided to go with Dougherty.
"They are both great athletes who have played well, and they are great people," said Edell. "It was one of the toughest decisions of my coaching career."
Dougherty's biggest save may have come with 11:09 left in the game. Maryland was ahead 8-6, but Towson attackman Joe Genovese took a pass at the top of the crease. Genovese shot, only to get snuffed by Dougherty.
Maryland then scored two goals, one each by Chomo and midfielder Dan Reading, in the next six minutes to secure the victory.