Two traditions ended in last night's Class 1A-2A state title game at UMBC: A losing one for Centennial's boys lacrosse program, and a winning one for Towson's.
The Eagles, who entered the game averaging 17 goals, broke open a tight battle with a 5-0 run second half run, solving Towson's slow-down offense for a 10-5 victory.
For the Eagles (15-1), a state finalist in 1994 and a semifinalist in both '92 and '93, it was their 15th straight win since a season-opening loss to Annapolis. It yanked a huge monkey off the back of coach Mike Siegert, who won state-regional crowns in '80 and '81.
"It feels great, especially for the kids, who have gotten their butts kicked in the past," said Seigert, whose Eagles ended a seven-game winning streak by Towson (11-5). "Our program was here before, but these kids weren't a part of that. Just to see them hang in there tonight, I'm so proud."
Towson (11-5), under first-year coach Ben Berquist, failed to win a title game for the first time in five appearances after taking four of the previous six state crowns. Baltimore County, with Hereford's championship in 1996, had won five of the last six.
"We have a winning tradition here [at UMBC]. It's like our home-away-from-home, but we lost a lot and a lot of people counted us out. They were like,'Good luck getting back there,' " said Berquist, whose Generals were coming off an improbable semifinal win over Kent County (14-2). "We got back here by heart. They really wanted it."
Towson had allowed on average of only four goals behind defenders Byron Derbyshire, Steve Toth, Chip Williams and junior keeper Jesse Markowitz (11 saves). Last night, the Generals did not allow a point by midfielder P.J. Paolisso, the Eagles' marquee player.
But Taylor Fields (three goals, one assist), Joe Iannarino (one, one) Randall Calvert (two goals) and eight others contributed as the Eagles solved the stubborn Generals' strategy.
Drew Cothran, Justin Vittori, Eric Jones and Justin Worley all had single goals for Centennial, which led only 5-4 at the half before its defenders Chad Orzechowski, Drew Enstice and John Anacker stepped up the pressure.
"P.J.'s our leader, but our offense and our defense is our entire team," Fields said. "It's not the most points I've scored in a game this year, but it's by far the best feeling. Some of us have been together for seven years, so we've waited a long time to experience this."
Though out-shot, 7-4, early on, Towson scored on its first three shots of the game for a 3-3 tie entering the second period led by Phillip Bell (two goals), Mike Griffen (one, one) and Gavin Kimball (one, one). The Generals had their only lead, 4-3, on a goal by Ben DeFelice 18 seconds into the second quarter.
Towson tied the game for the fifth and final time before Fields fed Cothran for a 6-5 lead with 6: 57 left in the third period to begin the Generals' demise.
Pub Date: 5/20/98