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First-rate second half lifts Tigers


Trailing 3-1 at halftime to UMBC's deliberate offense, visiting Towson State rallied for 12 second-half goals and a 13-6 victory yesterday over the Retrievers, the 11th consecutive victory in the series for the Tigers.

The No. 15 Tigers (5-4) opened the second half with a four-goal spurt in the first three minutes of the third quarter and added a five-goal barrage in 2:55 early in the fourth quarter to take a 10-4 lead with just over 10 minutes to play and went on to their fourth straight win.

The loss was the fourth straight for UMBC, which fell to 4-7.

Sophomore attackman Dudley Dixon (three goals) started the second-half rally for Towson by converting a feed from Matt Clune (one goal, three assists) just 27 seconds into the third quarter to make it 3-2 and Dixon noted that Tigers coach Carl Runk had something to do with the turnaround.

"He told us he was really disappointed and there was a lot of screaming," said Dixon. "But we really deserved it. He fired us up."

When senior midfielder Dave Spencer scored his second of three goals exactly three minutes into the second half the Tigers were on top 5-3 and never trailed again.

UMBC battled back to within a goal on a Chad Henry goal midway in the quarter, but Towson broke the game open when Spencer started a five-goal burst early in the fourth quarter.

David Quinn scored the ninth and 10th goals for Towson to complete the spurt with 10:23 to play and Towson on top by six goals.

"UMBC had stayed right with their game plan and we couldn't cope with it," Runk said of the Retrievers' first-half lead. "I'm pleased we came back to win."

When the Tigers and Retrievers played to a scoreless first quarter, the crowd gathered for UMBC's homecoming knew that this game was not following the expected pattern.

Towson State was coming in off three straight victories, in which it had averaged 15 goals per game, and UMBC had lost three straight, in which it allowed just over 16 goals per game.

But neither team scored in the first quarter. Towson goalie Brian Whalen and UMBC counterpart Chris Brown, who finished with 20 saves, combined for five saves and three other shots hit goal posts and bounced out.

Towson broke the ice 1:35 into the second quarter as Dixon lined a shot past Brown.

That lead was short-lived, however, as UMBC took just 17 seconds to pull even when Keith Chance fed Matt Shearer, who tied it up with just over 13 minutes left in the first half.

After that Towson continued to put the offensive pressure on Brown, but the junior from St. Mary's made five saves in the second quarter while the Tigers outshot UMBC, 9-3.

But, with UMBC working deliberately every time it got the ball, the Retrievers scored on their only three shots of the quarter for a surprising 3-1 halftime lead.

Freshman midfielder Tom Reilly beat Whalen with a liner into the upper left corner of the goal with 4:52 left in the half to provide a 2-1 Retrievers lead. Then Chris Lloyd, cutting toward the crease, took a feed from Greg Sabo and made it 3-1.

"We did what was necessary in the first half," said UMBC coach Don Zimmerman. "But I warned them that Towson would come out fired up and the first seven minutes of the second half would be real important."

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