Thirty minutes before the Towson University women's lacrosse team took the field yesterday to play Mount St. Mary's at Minnegan Stadium, sophomore Towson attacker Kat Brady found a quiet corner of the locker room and spent a few minutes doing what she has done before every lacrosse game she has played in her high school and collegiate career.
"I prayed by myself for a little while," said Brady. "I usually do it alone, but a few times, I'll pray with a teammate. I do it to relax and focus better on the game."
But it was impossible for Brady to relax in the first half yesterday against a charged-up Mount team that simply outhustled the favored Tigers to gain a surprising 5-5 tie at halftime in the first women's lacrosse meeting between the schools.
"They really came at us hard in the first half. So I stopped thinking in the second half and let our team's natural talent take over the game," said Brady, who scored four goals and three assists in the final 30 minutes to lead the Tigers to a 16-8 victory. "Our attack started working together, we spread the offense out, and we were screening off the ball. We knew we were the better team and showed it in the second half."
The Mount (4-5) hung tough for the first 10 minutes of the second half, scoring two straight goals in 38 seconds to surge to a 7-7 tie with a little more than 20 minutes left in the game.
That proved to be the final charge for the visitors, who are playing just their fourth season at the Division I level.
Towson (3-5) answered with 14 minutes of lacrosse perfection, going on a 9-0 run for a 16-7 advantage with 6: 10 remaining on the clock. Brady scored three goals, had three beautiful assists in the game-breaking run, and is now the runaway leader on the team in points with 24 (16 goals, eight assists).
The former Archbishop Spalding standout tossed in three of the last five goals for Towson and finished the afternoon with seven ground balls, four draw controls, and no fouls in addition to the eight points.
Brady and the Tigers are talking playoffs after a slow start against a schedule that resulted in five losses at the hands of teams ranked in the top 13 in the country. The setbacks have come to No. 1 Maryland, No. 6 Georgetown, No. 7 Delaware, No. 12 Vanderbilt and No. 13 George Mason.
"The main thing was the way our attack started clicking," Towson coach Linda Ohrin said. "They were standing around a lot in the first half, but in the second half, we ran our motion offense better than we have all year."
Junior attacker Portia Gotwalt joined Brady in the spotlight yesterday with four goals and two assists, and senior Towson goalkeeper Jacquie Sica recorded seven saves before leaving the game with 4: 32 left. Sica now needs just 17 saves to become the career leader for the Tigers, moving closer to Mary Bartel (836).
Mount coach Janet Flora Anderson said, "We played well for 40 minutes, but we physically ran out of steam. We only have a small nucleus of players. I know I have to go out and recruit more talent, and I know that talent is in Baltimore."
Johns Hopkins 18, American 11: Senior Danielle Maschuci and freshman Meghan Burnett scored two goals each during a 6-1 second-half, scoring run to power the host Blue Jays (8-2) downed the Eagles (2-8) for their eighth straight win.
Loyola 11, George Mason 6: Jen Testrake and Krissy Warnock each scored three goals as the visiting Greyhounds (7-2, 5-1) downed the host Patriots (5-4, 3-2) in Fairfax, Va.
Loyola scored seven unanswered goals. for the come-from-behind win.
No. 9 Johns Hopkins 17, Villanova 7: Senior attack Dan Denihan scored four goals and added four assists as the host Blue Jays (3-3) snapped the Wildcats's five-game winning streak.
Chris Larson led Villanova (5-3) with three goals.