By Glenn Kaplan, Staff Writer
Photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
After scoring 16 goals on Friday night against Elon, the Tigers looked to keep its foot on the gas pedal against William & Mary in a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) matchup.
Towson’s (4-9, 2-1 CAA) offense was in sync for the entire game as they took down the Tribe (6-7, 1-3 CAA) 22-12 Sunday afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
“I’m really liking the chemistry that we’re seeing on the offensive end of the field,” said Head Coach Sonia LaMonica. “It’s nice to see it’s not a flash in the pan from Friday night. We’re really clicking. Our transition is continuing to build and look good.”
It has been a rare occasion this season that the Tigers scored the first goal of the game, but sophomore attacker Kaitlin Thornton bucked that trend with a goal just 2:06 into the contest.
Towson scored the first three goals of the game less than six minutes into the game.
The Tigers used their speed to their advantage, using a balanced approach to take a 9-4 lead into halftime.
“I think because the chemistry has been continuing to develop really well, our youngsters are getting more opportunity and continuing to get more reps,” LaMonica said. “They’re starting to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Following a strong first half, the Tigers were poised to put the game away early. After a three-goal run by William & Mary trimmed the lead to four, Towson outscored the Tribe 8-2 for the rest of the game. Thornton contributed three goals in that run.
“My teammates are setting me up because they know if I have the ball, I’m more than likely going to drive because that’s kind of my role is to drive and then get the double team so they clear through for me,” Thornton said. “We’re pushing through transition and I think the chemistry is just getting better and better every time we play.”
Thornton was one of four Tigers to score at least three goals in the game, along with junior midfielder Shelby Stack, senior attacker Natalie Sulmonte and sophomore midfielder Rayna Deltuva.
Towson played well defensively too, limiting William & Mary to just 18 shots on goal. Deltuva was a key part of the strong defense.
“Rayna came up with some great defensive plays,” LaMoncia said.
Junior goalie Kiley Keating wasn’t tested often, but she rose to the occasion and made saves when she needed to.
The Tigers crushed the Elon Phoenix 16-4 Friday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium to earn their first conference win of the year.
“I was really pleased, really excited for our team tonight,” LaMonica said. “They really executed the things that we’ve been talking about and working on through the week. Our tempo offensively really helped spark and generate better opportunities.”
After surrendering the first goal of the game, Towson outscored Elon 9-0 for the rest of the half, including a goal scored by Sulmonte with nine seconds remaining in the first half.
“I think coming off of last Sunday against JMU, we kind of just knew we needed to work harder this week and put in that extra work,” Sulmonte said. “It helped that the defense played awesome.”
Sulmonte finished the game with a season high six goals.
Putting together an all-around effort was something LaMonica was waiting to see all season, and she expects to see it continue.
“We want to keep getting stronger each game.” LaMonica said. “We don’t want to just stay where we are, we gotta keep getting stronger and better.”
Keating made six saves in the game, and she received a ton of help from the defenders in front of her.
“Even when our team isn’t having maybe the best game, the defense always goes out there and does their job,” Keating said. “Game-to-game, we’ve made improvements and fix the things that we’ve needed to fix and at the end of the day, my defense always has my back.”
After defeating two CAA opponents at home this weekend, the Tigers are putting themselves in the driver’s seat to reach the CAA tournament next month.
“We’ve a lot of pride in our tradition here and what we’ve accomplished over the many years as a team in the CAA,” LaMonica said. “It’s great to see those returners coming up and stepping up and taking charge. This is an area that we have really high expectations. We’ve had a lot of success, we want to continue that success no matter what happened out of conference.”
The Tigers will have two more CAA games next weekend. They will face the Hofstra Pride on the road on Friday, April 19 with game time set for 7 p.m. Towson will then face the Drexel Dragons on Senior Day at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Sunday, April 21 with game time slated for noon.