There are signs of a turnaround by the Towson State women.
The memories of a 2-6 start and a crushing loss to UMBC during the fall scrimmage season faded yesterday. By holding off UMBC for an 8-6 victory, the Tigers doubled last season's win total and claimed back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
"We haven't had a six-day rest between games in a few weeks, so I told them we're going to be at our best condition for this game," said Towson State's first-year coach, Ashley Duncan, who took over a 2-12 team. "We're now at the point where we're going into games not to lose, but to win."
After 30 minutes of scoreless play, sophomore midfielder Chrissy Tirocchi (Mount de Sales) scored off a free position to put the Retrievers ahead, 1-0.
But the Tigers (4-6), who didn't record an assisted goal in the game, began attacking the goal with strong individual moves in their set offense.
Less than two minutes after UMBC had opened the scoring, Towson State answered, scoring on three of four shots to take a 3-1 advantage with 11:40 remaining in the first half.
Sophomore midfielder Liz Wilson (Severna Park), who led Towson State with three goals, capped a 6-0 run by scoring on a drive to the goal as the Tigers took a 6-1 lead with 21:44 left in the game.
UMBC (4-5) then began a strong comeback behind the scoring combination of Alison Zaetz and Meghan McElwee.
Setting up on the right wing, McElwee twice fed Zaetz cutting down the middle within a 40-second span as the Retrievers cut the lead to 6-3 with 20:24 left.
But the Retrievers never sliced the lead under three goals in this stretch as they exchanged goals with Towson State, who held an 8-4 advantage with 9:12 left. Zaetz scored twice again in the last 4:10, but the Retrievers never threatened to take the lead.
For UMBC, it was the first loss to a team not ranked in the top 10.
"We haven't been in our offensive flow lately," UMBC coach Kathy Zerrlaut said. "I told them that Towson State would come at us hard. Towson State just wanted this game more."