The Towson men's lacrosse team has the look of a national contender.
The sixth-ranked Tigers took down No. 1 Loyola, 12-10, Feb. 27 before an announced 2,534 fans, the largest crowd for a February lacrosse game at Johnny Unitas Stadium since 2002.
Towson junior goalie Tyler Canto put on a remarkable show, finishing with 14 saves.
At one point in the fourth quarter, the 6-foot-6 Canto dove to the right of the cage on a fake shot by Loyola's Kevin Lindley. Just as Lindley was about to finish off an apparent easy, short-range goal, Canto managed to raise his stick just high enough to make a point blank stop, which preserved a 9-7 lead.
"Honestly, I don't even know what was going through the kid's head," sophomore defenseman Koby Smith about Canto. "I slid and I turned around and all of a sudden Canto is on his butt on the ground, shaking his stick around and the kid is throwing a thousand fakes.
"It goes straight into Canto's stick and my mind was just blown. I was like, 'Oh crap.' I had no clue what was going on and I immediately broke up the field. I was like 'I've got to get out of here.'"
Canto's save save ignited Twitter with a hashtag #SCTop10 in reference to the top 10 highlights on ESPN's SportsCenter.
From there, the Tigers knew they were on the way for a special night and picked up their first win against the nation's top-ranked team since 1992 -- an 8-7 overtime win against the Greyhounds.
Smith, a Loyola Blakefield alum, played a key role in containing Loyola senior attackman Pat Spencer (Boys' Latin.). However, he had help from several of his teammates, all of whom converged on Spencer. Spencer finished with a goal and four assists.
"He's just another player," Smith said about the matchup. "We'd play him the same way we'd play everybody else. I play them to the best of my ability."
The Towson attack was led by senior Brendan Sunday, who had four goals and an assist. Senior Alex Woodall (St. Mary's) set the tone by winning 20 of 26 faceoffs, including all 10 matchups in the final quarter.
Lindley had six goals for the Greyhounds, who snapped a three-game winning streak against the Tigers.
Loyola coach Charley Toomey expects his team to bounce back from this setback. The Greyhounds (3-1) open Patriot League against Holy Cross March 2.
"Our team is going to be fine," Toomey said. "They're going to bull their necks. The captains are going to take over. We'll learn from this. We'll lick our wounds, but then we have to flush it."
The Tigers (4-0) also beat Johns Hopkins, 17-8, in the opener, which means they have bragging rights among the Baltimore-area teams. Towson gets a break before heading to Charlotte, N.C., for games against Jacksonville and No. 3 Cornell March 8-10.
"I'm happy with our progress," Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said. "Our guys are continuing to improve and continuing to get better. I feel like we are doing that more times than not right now. We have really good pieces fitting together and playing well."
Johns Hopkins Rebounds
The Blue Jays shook off their first 0-2 start since 1971 with a spirited 11-10 victory against then-No. 14 North Carolina Feb. 23.
The win propelled Johns Hopkins back into the Division I Media Poll at No. 18.
Senior attacker Kyle Marr scored twice, extending his goal-scoring streak to 17 games. The matchup continued a trend of highly contested matchup between the two programs, with 11 of the last 21 games decided by two goals or fewer.
Freshman Matt Narewski won 12 of 24 faceoffs and sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Darby finished with seven saves in tough, wet conditions.
"I give our guys a lot of credit," Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said. "Coming down here, we felt like we needed to win. Not because if we didn't our season was over -- we needed it for us. We needed to put a hard day's work in, and the weather and our opponent forced us to do that. This was a really good win for us."
The Blue Jays have another tough matchup March 2 against Princeton, which is 1-1 and received votes in the national poll.
UMBC Looks To Build On First Win
The Retrievers received an impressive performance from their attack for the second straight week to pick up their first win of the season Feb. 23.
Senior Josh Jordan and junior Ryan Frawley each scored three goals in the 13-10 victory against in-state rival Mount St. Mary's (0-4). Sophomore Trevor Patschorke (Severna Park) also had an impressive game with a pair of goals.
UMBC started the year with an 11-6 loss at Navy, followed by another 17-12 setback to Richmond. Coach Ryan Moran now has to tighten the defense to take some of the pressure off the attack heading into a second straight home game against Brown March 2.
AROUND THE CREASE
Sophomore defensive midfielder Roman Puglise was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after leading No. 2 Maryland to a pair of wins against Colgate (11-6) and Navy (14-9). In addition, sophomore midfielder Logan Wisnauskas (Boys' Latin) was named to the USILA Team of the Week after finishing 13 points on six goals and seven assists during the two games. … Stevenson junior goalie Sam Ross and senior attack JT Thelen were named to the USILA Division III Team of the Week following the Mustangs' 13-6 win at No. 9 Denison Feb. 23. … Salisbury senior midfielder Corey Gwin (Stephen Decatur) was named to the USILA/Warrior and New Balance Team of the Week after scoring four goals with two assists in a 17-10 victory against then-No. 6 Gettysburg.
Photo Credit: Rob Maloof/Towson Athletics