The sprinkler system at the Loyola goal came on unexpectedly during the overtime period of the Greyhounds' tense battle with UMBC yesterday, delaying the game for several minutes.
Shortly after play resumed, lightning struck for the second time in three years for Loyola when Miguel Abreu scored at the 93:48 mark to beat the host Retrievers, 3-2, in the semifinals of the first Battle of Baltimore Soccer Tournament.
The Greyhounds joined Towson in tomorrow's 4:30 p.m. final. The Tigers edged Navy, 1-0, when Machel Millwood headed in the only goal with 68:16 elapsed.
In 2000, Abreu, now a Loyola co-captain, scored the winning goal to beat host UMBC in overtime, 2-1, the Greyhounds' 16th victory in a series in which they have never lost (two games ended in ties).
"I think we don't want to give up our ranking just yet," said senior Abreu of Loyola's No. 13 standing nationally. "When I got the ball, all I could think of was that I wanted to go home."
Loyola goalkeeper Reb Beatty had punted the ball to near midfield, where freshman Vinnie Piscopo took possession and moved down the left side. Piscopo sent a feed across the field to Abreu, who scored into the far left corner from 14 yards.
Towson and Navy played on practically even terms in a cleanly played game until Millwood took a crossing pass from Maeson Ethard and beat goalkeeper Matt Copare into the left corner of the net.
The 6-foot-3 senior from College Park was Towson's leading scorer last season, when the team finished with a school-record 16 wins and a No. 25 national ranking.
"The ball was coming diagonally, from the opposite direction, and I just headed it to the post," said Millwood, who was born in Jamaica.
"He just skied for it. A couple of my players told me that none of them could have gotten that high if they had climbed on each other's back," said Navy coach Greg Myers. "We knew about him and we were keying on him and he still scored. He's a hell of a player."
Towson 1, Navy 0
Navy 0 0 - 0
Towson 0 1 - 1
Goal: T-Millwood. Assist: T-Ethard. Saves: T-Hicks 4; N-Copare 6.
Loyola 3, UMBC 2, OT
Loyola 2 0 1 - 3
UMBC 0 2 0 - 2
Goals: L-de Oliveira, Law, Abreu; UMBC-Joseph, Angelini. Assists: L-Barnett, O'Connor, Piscopo; UMBC-McGowan. Saves: L-Beatty 6; UMBC-Rowland 4.