By: Tyler Beard, Staff Writer
Towson won its fourth straight Colonial Athletic Association conference opener, grabbing a 6-3 win against Massachusetts on Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
“We knew it was going to be a battle with UMass,” Head Coach Shawn Nadelen said. “Historically, UMass games are always physical and kind of low scoring. You got to find a way to win and I’m glad we were the team that did that.”
Junior goalie Tyler White had 14 saves, which tied his season-high against Navy.
That led to holding the Minutemen scoring three goals, the fewest in a CAA game against Towson since Saint Joseph’s managed just two goals in 2011.
“I got confident early, which is always a plus for a goalie, so I was just kind of feeling it today,” White said. “It really helped a lot with our defense because they were only letting up favorable shots for me.”
The Tigers (7-3, 1-0 CAA) scored first off of a shot from junior attackman Spencer Parks with less than seven minutes left in the first quarter. Parks now ranks second on the team in points, with 14 goals and nine assists.
Senior midfielder Justin Mabus extended Towson’s lead to 2-0 after he scored his third goal of season in the last minute of the first quarter.
Massachusetts (3-6, 1-1 CAA) didn’t score its first goal until less than five minutes left in the second quarter and cut Towson’s lead to 3-1.
Grant Whiteway beat White for his first goal in almost 25 minutes.
However, redshirt senior attackman Max Siskind scored a few minutes later after faking out the Minutemen’s goalie.
Parks was credited with the assist on Siskind’s sixth goal of the year.
The Tigers went into halftime with a 4-1 lead, but were outshot by the Minutemen, 19-10, and picked up only seven ground balls to the Minutemen’s 18.
Both teams struggled to score at the beginning of the third quarter until sophomore midfielder Mike Lynch scored his second goal of the game midway through the third quarter.
Lynch scored to make it 5-1 even with the Minutemen committing two penalties on the play.
Lynch saw an expanded role against Massachusetts because Towson found out earlier in the week that redshirt senior midfielder Andrew Hodgson was lost for the season because of a knee injury.
Hodgson had 15 goals and four assists in just eight games this season.
Before missing last season, Hodgson scored 27 goals and dished out 14 assists in 2013.
“We’ve been handling adversity all year,” Nadelen said. “Our guys continue to stay positive. Andrew Hodgson has always been a big part of this, but our guys continue to embrace whoever is able to step up and be the guy and we’re going to play through whatever adversity comes our way.”
The Minutemen scored the next two goals and cut the Tigers’ lead to 5-3 with less than 11 minutes left in the game.
Whiteway and attacker Nick Mariano contributed goals to the comeback.
Both teams battled until sophomore attackman Joe Seider helped put the game away with a goal with four minutes left.
Seider leads the team with 21 goals and four assists.
“Ben [McCarty] had a great dodge and dropped it back to me,” Seider said. “All the credit goes to him because he got me wide open and I just tried to get my shot on the cage and put it somewhere [the goalie] couldn’t get it.”
The Tigers held the Minutemen to their lowest goal-total of the season.
“For us as a defense, we have to stay close together because we know that at some points the offense might struggle and the ball comes down to us,” senior defenseman JoJo Ostrander said. “So if we stay together as a defense, it always helps us out and builds us up.”
Both teams had similar stats as the Minutemen won the face-off battle 7-6, but the team committed two more turnovers than the Tigers.
Towson will be on the road next to take on the Delaware Blue Hens (4-7, 0-1 CAA) on Saturday.
The game is set to start at 7 p.m. in Newark, Delaware.