Fifth-ranked Towson advanced to its third straight Class 1A-2A state-tournament final with an 11-5 victory over South River last night at Howard High School.
The Generals (16-1) will play the winner of today's other semifinal between sixth-ranked Mount Hebron and North Harford for the championship at 6 p.m. Tuesday at UMBC.
Towson's boys team advanced earlier last night and will play in the title game at 8 p.m. Last year, Towson became the first school in tournament history to capture girls and boys titles in the same year.
Towson's girls were playing their third game in three days, and for the third straight time Lindsay Buchanan had a team-high five goals. Erin Rowse and Eva Claire Synkowski added two each for the Generals.
Buchanan said her team "came out a little slow and tired. But once we settled down, we were able to get the goals.
"Our defense sparked a lot of that, creating turnovers and clearing it out."
Buchanan scored the first two goals of the game, and the Generals went on to a 3-1 lead. South River's Nichoal Zamarripa made it a one-goal contest with 14: 30 left in the half, but Towson scored five straight and went into halftime with an 8-3 lead.
South River (11-4) was beaten on ground balls in the first half and found itself on defense the majority of the time. The Seahawks improved their play in the second half.
"We're a very young team, mostly juniors and sophomores," South River coach Stephen Barry said.
"Ten of 12 starters are coming back. In the second half, they played with more confidence. What they need is more time together and more experience in a big game like this."
South River's Amy Harris scored to cut Towson's lead to 10-5 with 18: 10 to go, but the Generals' defense, led by seniors Jaimee Reynolds, Caroline Gibson and Leslie Hunt, held tough the rest of the way.
"I have defenders that are amazingly fast and talented," said Towson's first-year coach, Jill Altshuler. "They shut everything down."
Altshuler said another key in the game was "our attack not letting them clear out the ball."
Buchanan, who has 57 goals this season, said her team's play fell a little in the second half -- "We dropped too many balls" -- and that overall the game "was not quite up to our level."
Still, she is confident her team will be ready to play its best on Tuesday.
"We've played better than this in the season. We know we can do it," said Buchanan.
"The opportunities were there tonight. It's a matter of perfecting it and smoothing things out."
And at least now the Generals will get a few days rest.
Pub Date: 5/16/98