By John Hack, Staff Writer
File photo by Liam Beard/ The Towerlight
Utilizing an opportunistic performance and a strong final five minutes minutes in the opening quarter, Towson’s Saturday afternoon trip to Connecticut proved worthwhile as the Tigers defeated Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) foe Fairfield University 14-7 at Rafferty Stadium.
After snapping their three-game losing streak last week, the Tigers looked to continue that momentum into their first road CAA match of the year.
“I thought the first quarter, we came out ready to play,” said Head Coach Shawn Nadelen.
A first quarter in which senior attacker Brendan Sunday and junior midfielder Brody McLean contributed a pair of goals to give the Tigers (7-3, 2-0 CAA) a 5-0 lead entering the second quarter.
“I thought we were doing some good things offensively, pumping in some goals,” Nadelen said. “Defensively, we were pretty organized. [Tyler] Canto helped us out with some pretty nice saves when [Fairfield] got looks.”
Canto, the junior goalie, who was pulled late in the second quarter last week after giving up six goals on eight shots, was quick to rebound this week as he stopped all four of the Stags’ (5-6, 0-2 CAA) first quarter shots on cage.
Despite its fast start, Towson faced some bumps in the road as Fairfield scored three straight goals in the second quarter.
“I was really disappointed in that second quarter,” Nadelen said. “We just didn’t do a great job staying focused and taking care of the ball.”
Nevertheless, the Tigers were able to extinguish some of the fire brought on by the Stags with senior midfielder Timmy Monahan striking early in the period.
Redshirt sophomore attacker Luke Fromert, who scored with just three seconds remaining in the half, gave the Tigers a three-goal cushion heading into halftime.
Towson kept its momentum going in the third quarter, with Monahan scoring on an extra man opportunity, followed by Sunday just 43 seconds later, extending the lead to 9-4.
In addition to their display of quick-strike offensive prowess, the Tigers excelled at responding to goals allowed. Fairfield scored in the third quarter to get within four, but Sunday scored five seconds later.
Senior midfielder Alex Woodall had another strong performance at the face-off dot, winning 21 of 25 face-offs for Towson.
“Between Alex winning face-offs and then Tyler [Canto] made some really key saves in transition when they had really good looks, he was able to shut the door, which was big for us,” Nadelen said.
The Tigers capped off a convincing victory with a three-goal run in the fourth quarter that put the game away for good.
Next, the Tigers look to stay undefeated in conference play as they return to Johnny Unitas Stadium to host the University of Massachusetts. Towson looks for revenge against UMass, the team that beat them in the CAA Championship last season.
“We wanna carry the momentum at what we built these first couple games and understand that UMass brings back everybody from last year and is playing at a really high level,” Nadelen said. “We gotta continue to play a little bit smarter and be a little bit more organized defensively.”