Towson women eager to show they belong
Unbeaten CAA champions to face American in NCAAs
Dec. 7, 1992: Earl “Poppa Bear” Banks, who coached Morgan State’s football team for 14 years and who won NCAA College Division title in 1966, is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Banks sent more than 40 players to the pros.
Dec. 6, 1988: The heirs of Edward Bennett Williams, who owned the Orioles for nine years until his death in August, sell the team for $70 million to a group led by New York businessman Eli Jacobs.
Dec. 6, 1970: The Colts’ Jim O’Brien kicks field goals of 45, 44 and 47 yards — despite wind gusts of up to 35 mph — in a 29-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Memorial Stadium.
Dec. 2, 1964: Navy’s basketball team routs Western Maryland (now McDaniel). 10466, in Annapolis. Gene Parchinski scores 21 for the winners.
Dec. 7, 1959: Morgan State’s Harry Johnson scores 46 points in a 73-72 basketball win over Bowie State in Hurt Gymnasium. Johnson, a 6-foot-4 forward, later serves two tours of duty in Vietnam, receives three bronze stars and becomes the first AfricanAmerican senior manager in World Bank history.
Dec. 5, 1924: Maryland scores a comefrom-behind basketball victory over Columbia, 24-23, in overtime in New York. The Terps get a team-high 7 points from captain Jack Faber, who’ll go on to coach the school’s lacrosse team to nine national championships.
Dec. 1, 1912: Following a 6-0 defeat of Army in Philadelphia, Navy’s football team returns by train and is paraded through the streets of Annapolis, led by its mascot, Billy the goat, in a cart pulled by a mule clad in Army’s colors.
This was one of those occasions when
Don Metil was happy to be proven wrong.
Before the start of the 2019 season for the Towson women’s volleyball team, the seventh-year coach huddled with assistant coaches Terry Hutchinson and Megan
Shifflett Bachmann and laid out a pair of objectives: win at least as many matches as lost and carve out a spot in the six-team field for the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
That perspective, however, flipped
Sept. 7 after the Tigers swept a Princeton squad that had won three Ivy League championships in the past four years.
“When we were able to beat them 3-0, I thought that was a pretty special moment for us,” Metil said. “Looking back on it, even though it was probably the first week of September, it kind of defined who we could be.”
On Sunday night, a week after Towson had earned only its second NCAA Division I tournament berth and first since
2004, the team learned its postseason path. The Tigers (28-2) will meet American University (24-7) in a first-round make those jumps to be up there with match Friday in University Park, Pennsylthem,” the Baltimore native and Dulaney vania. The winner will advance to a graduate said. second-round tilt against the winner of Metil said he got a hint of the players’ No. 11 seed Penn State (24-3)-Princeton determination in the preseason.
(17-7). “In July, they were talking about rings
After waiting a week to find out the and championships,” he recalled. “I was team’s first-round opponent, senior Marlike, ‘That’s great to talk about, but we’ve risa Wonders was just happy to be done talked about those things before.’ There’s with the mystery. many kids, many athletes that came before
“I liked the uncertainty for a little bit, Liv and Cam Allen that have said those but eventually, we were all like, ‘We want words, and they just never came true. So to know who we’re playing. We want to for them to speak that aggressively early know where we’re going,’” said Wonders, on and keep their eyes on the prize and the CAA’s Player and Setter of the Year. work hard day in and day out, the [win “So we’re looking forward to it.” streak of ] 22 matches are kind of a
It will mark the first time since 2010 by-product of these kids and what they’ve that Towson and the Eagles will face each determined to set out to do.” other, and Metil said that unfamiliarity The Tigers boast several individual should prove beneficial. standouts. The 5-foot-11 Wonders, who
“That way, everybody has to bring their joined Hofstra’s Shellane Ogoshi as the ‘A’ game,” he said. “Sometimes when you only players in CAA history to capture play an opponent and you see that both Player and Setter of the Year honors opponent again, if you were successful the in the same season, ranks seventh in the first time, you might let down your guard nation in assists per set (11.6) and 27th in or have some type of mental thought total assists (1,199). Joining Wonders on process that it’s going to be as easy as it the league’s first team were freshman was the first time. But to have someone in middle blocker Lydia Wiers, who was the first round that we’ve never seen selected as the Rookie of the Year, senior before is going to create a heightened middle blocker Silvia Grassini and Finckel sense of urgency and execution.” — all of whom have at least 200 kills and
Towson became the first team in 100 blocks this fall. conference history to go 16-0 in the But when Towson takes the court regular season and capture the tournaagainst the Eagles, nearly two weeks will ment championship. The title is the have passed since the players’ last comprogram’s first since 2015 when that squad petitive match in a straight-sets sweep of shared it with James Madison, and the James Madison for the CAA tournament current team’s 28 wins are the most in the crown. That’s why Metil had the players rally era since the 2001 squad went 28-4. practice for two hours a few hours before
The Tigers are riding a 22-match Sunday night’s selection show. winning streak — a single-season record “Honestly, I think we’re more excited outpacing the 19-match streak in 2003 — because there’s no pressure,” Allen said. and own the No. 36 RPI, but feel like they “It’s not like we have nothing to lose, but are flying under the radar. Junior defenwe haven’t won it 15 times in a row, and sive specialist Camryn Allen said the we’re expected to win it again. We can just chatter among online volleyball circles is relax and know that we’re going to have fun.”thatTowsonisoneoftheweaker participants. Metil said the mood around Sunday’s
“I think it will be good to actually get a practice was light. But he also noted that chance to play one of the higher-ranked there was a seriousness underneath the schools,” the Ellicott City native and laughs.
Centennial graduate said. “Everyone was “I think there’s a lot of confidence,” he saying in the beginning that we don’t said. “I think they’re level-headed, but deserve to be ranked that high because we with all this team has accomplished, I hadn’t beaten a Top 25 or a Top 50 team. hope it continues to drive us forward. Now we have a chance to prove that we Now that we’ve met almost every goal — if should have been ranked that high.” not all of the goals that we set as
Senior outside hitter Olivia Finckel said individuals and as a team — I hope we’re she can almost understand the disdain. still hungry to set a new goal. … I think But she also revealed that the players have they’re still excited to continue the internalized the criticism and converted it journey rather than say we’ve accominto motivation. plished what we’ve accomplished and
“I think it’s given us a little bit more now whatever happens, happens. I hope drive to prove that we did earn this and they’re setting new goals based on tonight that we’ve been working hard enough to and that we can achieve even more.”
Dec. 3, 1907: Joe Gans, world lightweight boxing champion, is fined $25 in court for speeding his automobile on Mount Royal Avenue.
Dec. 3, 1937: Bobby Boyd, Colts cornerback who was three times All-Pro in the 1960s and who retired with 57 interceptions, tied for 13th all-time. Boyd died in 2017.
Men’s College Basketball
The Towson volleyball team is one of only three programs that have finished a season with an unblemished record in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) portions of their schedules and the only school to have achieved that feat since the turn of the century. Here is a list of the perfect records in
Towson middle blocker Silvia Grassini was named to the Colonial Athletic Association all-league team.
A game-changer, Colts cornerback Bobby Boyd intercepted 57 passes in a nine-season career with Baltimore (1960-68).