Randy Dase have no trouble getting his Towson boys lacrosse team ready for its Class 1A-2A state championship showdown with Fallston.
Feeding off a Fallston player's quote that was in a newspaper story, Towson got added fuel from a pre-game speech and whipped the Harford County champion, 9-7, at UMBC Stadium last night.
"We have had problems with a lack of intensity and focusing on the job at hand, so you play mind games," Dase said.
"Tonight was simple. We made sure the players saw the quote that said of Fallston: 'If we play up to our ability, we'll destroy them.'
"We concentrated on being the underdogs. They were ahead of us in the rankings [No. 7 vs. No. 8]. Fallston has great athletes and we play such a weak schedule we have to use motivation to get our players to the next level."
Dan Ross, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior who led the winners' attack, added: "We were really up for this. Coach gave a great pre-game speech and it lifted us. Then he came back at halftime, telling us it was there for us to grab and pull out."
Towson scored in the first 17 seconds -- "I could tell our kids were nervous, and Towson had all that experience of having been here before," Fallston coach John Conley said -- and went on to open three-goal leads in each of the last three quarters.
The win gave the Baltimore County school its second straight state title and improved its winning streak to 28 games, including 13 this year.
Fallston (14-2) had a winning streak stopped at 14, fashioned after a season-opening loss to St. Paul's. It was the school's third straight state tournament appearance, its first in a championship game.
Spencer Ford, Ross and Barry Heddings scored for Towson, as it broke away from a tie at 3 to forge a 6-3 halftime lead.
After Dan Bowers and Brad Baker had brought Fallston back within 6-5, Mike Ford scored twice, bracketing them around a winning faceoff by Ben Donovan.
The teams swapped goals in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, before Ross got his third goal of the game for a 9-6 margin. Fallston got the game's final goal at 4:55, on a shot by Bowers off a pass from Baker.
Mike Ford and Ross ended with three goals each for the Generals, and Ford added two assists. For Fallston, Bowers had had two goals.
For two teams that regularly scored more than 20 goals a game,
the defense in this one was outstanding. This was particularly true of Fallston goalkeeper Jamie Auer, a junior, who ended with 22 saves, and a Towson defense led by James Ghong and goalkeeper Ian Wildey.