UMBC coach Don Zimmerman gazed in amazement as the sticks sailed high into the night sky and his players mobbed each other in the center of the field.
After four years, his program had finally turned the corner.
Chris Turner slammed in the game-winner with four minutes remaining and Andrew Hampson secured the victory by saving a close-range shot in the final seconds as the Retrievers upset No. 13 Towson State, 11-10, last night at UMBC Stadium.
"This is the biggest win since I've been here," said Zimmerman, trying to catch his breath. "Our guys have been in this situation twice this year. They weren't going to be denied tonight."
Turner and John McDonnell each had three goals and one assist for UMBC.
It was a monumental win in many aspects for the Retrievers, who have clinched their first winning season in five years.
UMBC (7-2) had lost 12 straight to Towson since a 1983 win. Besides Mount St. Mary's, the Retrievers hadn't defeated a state school in six years.
"We've had difficulty with state teams, but I think the jinx is up," said Turner, who was in first grade the last time UMBC beat Towson. "This was like a playoff game for us. We needed this to continue our postseason chances."
After Towson (3-4) rallied from a three-goal halftime deficit, neither team led by more than a goal for the final 25 minutes, which featured four ties and four lead changes.
The Retrievers tied the game at 10 with 4: 48 left, and the Tigers gave UMBC another opportunity with a holding penalty less than a minute later. Just as the extra-man opportunity ended, Turner took a feed from McDonnell right on the crease and rammed in a shot from the left side of the crease for the game-winner.
The Tigers had chances to tie, but they hit their sixth pipe of the game on a man-up situation. Their last shot -- by Spencer Ford -- was stopped by Hampson.
"It shows our young guys that we can play," Zimmerman said. "We needed to know how to though. Now we know what it takes to win as a team."
The Tigers had won by no less than five goals over UMBC since 1983.
Towson midfielder Mason Ray said: "In the back of our minds we knew this was going to be a tough game, but we took them too lightly. It's hard coming back from a big win over Navy four days ago. Bottom line, they outplayed us."
No. 10 Loyola 14, Lehigh 10: Mark Frye (Severna Park) scored four goals -- tying his career-high for a second time in a week -- to power visiting Loyola (6-2) past Lehigh (7-3). The Greyhounds have won five of their past six games.
St. Mary's 11, Goucher 10: Terrence Buckley and C.J. Lauer each scored twice to lead host St. Mary's (4-7) past Goucher in the Capital Athletic Conference.
Drexel 9, Mount St. Mary's 8: Dave Coldwell scored three goals to rally Drexel (7-2) from a three-goal, fourth-quarter deficit against host Mount St. Mary's (6-5).
Washington College 17, Swarthmore 0: Senior George Atterbury had three goals and an assist for the host Shoremen (10-2).
Pub Date: 4/17/97