The second half of yesterday's Class 1A-2A West regional girls lacrosse final was a little more than three minutes old, and Towson coach Jill Altshuler already had seen enough.
Loch Raven reeled off three goals in 96 seconds and pulled within a goal of the Generals, when the first-year coach signaled for a timeout.
"It was a good timeout," said Towson junior Lindsay Buchanan. "She really made us see that this was all or nothing. She reminded us that if we didn't win today our season was over, and none us wanted that to happen."
No. 5-ranked Towson then answered the three-goal spree by scoring four straight of its own and rode the momentum to a 17-11 victory over its Baltimore County archrival.
The victory gave the visiting Generals their third straight region championship and put Towson in tonight's 8 p.m. state semifinal at Howard High.
"It all came down to desire," said Altshuler, who saw her team lose only once this season -- by a goal to Association of Independent Schools power Notre Dame Prep. "I told the girls during that last timeout, 'This isn't about skill, speed or stickwork; this is about desire and who wants it more.' "
Buchanan led the Generals offensively with five goals and an assist. Katie Dolan scored back-to-back goals in each half. Senior attacker Eva Claire Synkowski recorded a hat trick for Towson, and Katie Stelmack had a pair of goals.
Laura Palazzi led 15th-ranked Loch Raven (13-3) with three goals and an assist. Morgan Clute and senior Angie Ruocco scored two goals apiece in what was a rematch of last year's state title game.
Towson (15-1), which defeated the Raiders 14-7 during the regular season, opened a four-goal lead at the the half on late goals by Stelmack and Synkowski.
Loch Raven won the first three draws of the second half and quickly took advantage of the possessions. Ruocco opened the scoring off a free position 90 seconds into the period, and Palazzi and Clute followed suit, pulling the Raiders to 8-7.
Moments after Altshuler's chat, Towson took over. Synkowski, Buchanan and Sara Lev all found the net in a minute 45 seconds, and Katie Coyne's goal on a feed from Buchanan gave the visitors a 12-7 advantage.
Loch Raven cut the lead to three midway through the second half but two quick, unassisted goals by Dolan washed away any comeback hopes.
"We lost to a very good team, but I think we certainly had them shaking in their boots for awhile," said Loch Raven coach Wendy Galinn.
Parkville 16, Kenwood 11: Lisa Tsimbidis scored seven goals to power the Knights (13-3) to the Class 3A South region title. Parkville plays C. Milton Wright at 6 p.m. today in a state semifinal at Catonsville Community College.
Towson 10, Loch Raven 2: Joe Hicks scored four goals to power the host Generals (12-4) for the Class 1A-2A West region title. Towson faces Kent at 6 p.m. today at Howard High School in a state semifinal.
Pub Date: 5/15/98