Towson falls to Urbana in 3A state boys lacrosse final; Jones accounts for five points (VIDEO HERE!)
by Derek Toney
As the Towson High boys lacrosse team made the trek across the Ridley Athletic Center turf early after Class 3A state title game Friday evening, the Generals’ faithful in the stands began cheering and clapping. Towson coach Rick Brocato and a couple of his players returned the appreciation during the postgame awards presentation.
The Generals’ season did not end the way they hoped – a 7-6 loss to Urbana at the Loyola University facility in North Baltimore. Of course, a championship is the desired result, but it’s the journey that resonates.
“We’ve played a lot of our lives together, a lot of us played in middle school,” said senior Evan Jones. “This team means a lot to me.”
“It’s a family,” said Towson senior goalie Mike Giordani.
A year ago, Giordani and Jones and their fellow mates weren’t on the field because COVID-19 shuttered the 2020 campaign. The Towson senior class departed without a chance to don their jerseys one final time.
The 2021 senior class got their chance this spring and made it count, until the final second Friday. Will Derbyshire’s shot went wide as time expired, and Urbana littered the field with its helmets and sticks, in celebration of its first state championship.
Austin McMahon scored three goals for Urbana, and Jason Joswiak tallied twice. Jones had a hat-trick and two assists for Towson, which defeated previously undefeated teams C. Milton Wright (semifinals) and Montgomery County’s Blake (quarterfinals).
The Generals’ formula of controlling pace worked in the first half against Urbana’s high scoring attack Friday. The Frederick County school was able to find a comfortable tempo to overtake Towson as Dylan Lange’s tally off a feed from Jason Kolar with 3 minutes, 35 seconds left in regulation was the decider.
Up 3-1 at halftime, Brocato knew keeping down Urbana, boasting a handful of Division I recruits, would be difficult.
“We dodged some bullets early…it was like a shooting gallery for Michael (Giordani), and Michael did a heck of a job,” said Brocato. “The defense hung in there…we knew we had to change some things up defensively, try to keep it low scoring.”
The Generals had a 5-4 lead entering the fourth after Will Kennedy’s score in the final seconds of the third quarter. Towson turned the ball over, and Urbana’s Jack Joswiak, a University of Delaware recruit, made a clean run to the goal and beat Giordani, tying the game with 9:22 left in regulation.
Thirty seconds later, McMahon (Salisbury) gave the Hawks their first lead of the match.
“We had to be opportunistic, possess the ball, and I thought we did a good job of that in the first half,” said Brocato. “In the second half, I thought we took a couple of shots that we’d like to have back.”
Jones, working the back, got inside near the crease and scored, pulling Towson even. Giordani came up with a brilliant chest-high stop, but minutes later, was unable to get to Kolar’s shot.
“We never seen an offense like that. They’re bigger than us, shiftier than us,” said Giordani. “But I’m proud of my guys, our defense held them to one goal. I don’t think they’ve ever seen that before.”
Giordani’s counterpart Cullen McKay went low to stop a Towson shot to maintain the one-goal advantage with 1:54 remaining. Urbana got an extra-man advantage with 31 seconds remaining, but the Generals got one final opportunity.
Senior longstick Joe Murray knocked down a pass and got possession. He spun around and passed the ball to freshman Jackson Kanzler, who immediately threw downfield to Derbyshire. Derbyshire ran about 15 yards before releasing a shot that bounced wide of the goal.
The wait continues for Towson, which last hoisted a state championship in 1997.
The 2021 Generals’ season, one with so many unknowns due to COVID-19, was one for the ages.
“It was a heck of a run,” Brocato said. “We’re really grateful to have the time together and to be able to do what we did together.”
“We played our hearts out and that’s everything I can ask from everybody,” said Jones, one of 17 seniors. “Everyone gave 100% effort, every day, every practice, every game — that’s all we can ask for.”