At the least, the 15-7 win over C.W. Post in the rain yesterday before 350 at Minnegan Stadium improved Towson's chances of being picked today by the NCAA selection committee for the 12-team tournament field. A defeat surely would have eliminated the No. 10 Tigers (7-4) from consideration.
"I feel we'll be the 10th or 11th team, and it wouldn't surprise me if we're No. 9," Runk said. "After the top six teams, you've got Duke, Brown, Maryland, Towson State and Navy -- all of us very close. All of us must be in."
The Tigers' four losses were to ranked teams -- to No. 1 Syracuse, No. 3 Loyola and No. 11 Navy by one goal each and to No. 6 Johns Hopkins by four. Yesterday's result did nothing to dilute Loyola coach Dave Cottle's emphatic contention early in the week that "Towson belongs in the tournament."
A midweek game will work in Towson's favor. If No. 13 Massachusetts hadn't lost to No. 7 Brown, the Minutemen would have been in contention with Towson for a playoff spot.
Towson reached the tournament for the first time in 1989 and has been in two since. In 1991, the Tigers were the 11th seed and advanced to the championship game before losing to unbeaten North Carolina.
Were it not for sloppy field conditions, Towson could have named the score yesterday. The Tigers had leads of 7-1 and, early in the fourth quarter, 15-5.
C.W. Post (6-5) went 29 minutes without a goal over one stretch after Dan Riordan scored two straight in the second quarter. A few miles down Charles Street, Riordan's brother, Terry, scored seven for Johns Hopkins in its loss to Loyola.
"Towson is a solid team all the way around," Dan Riordan said. "They could go to the Final Four. From what I've heard, they just have to be stronger in the fourth quarter."
Junior midfielder Bob Doherty, who entered the game with seven goals, scored three to lead Towson. Midfielder Mark Goers, a 229-pound sophomore, finished the regular season with 116 ground balls, breaking the school record (113) held by Tony Millon. Goers and Tim Lucky combined to capture 20 of 26 faceoffs.
"We tend to play to the level of the competition," Runk said.
He spoke of inconsistency and mistakes, some stemming from the weather and others from the fact that C.W. Post aroused so little fear in the Tigers.