By: Karuga Koinange, Sports Editor
Photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
Towson men’s lacrosse avoided a three-game losing streak with an 8-6 come-from-behind victory over University of Maryland, Baltimore County Saturday afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
“We’re pumped to earn a win after our third game in eight days against what we knew would be a challenging opponent,” Head Coach Shawn Nadelen said. “They throw a lot of different things at you defensively and they’re patient offensively, but also aggressive at the same time. Our guys responded as best we could.”
Both teams played at a rapid pace to start the game. The Retrievers (1-3) got on the board first as freshman attacker Trevor Patschorke scored a goal midway through the first quarter. However, junior midfielder Jon Mazza responded quickly for the Tigers (2-3) as he ripped in an unassisted goal to even the score.
Patschorke scored his second goal of the day following a turnover by Towson to give his team a 2-1 lead going into the second.
The Tigers stayed aggressive in the second as junior midfielder Timmy Monahan tied the game on a rhythm goal off of a feed from Mazza, but the Retrievers regained the lead just two minutes later when freshman attacker Ben Keller put in an unassisted goal to make it a 3-2 game.
Keller added another goal as he nailed a shot from well beyond the cage with five minutes left to go in the second, but Mazza answered back to narrow the score 4-3 going into halftime.
Towson knotted up the score early in the third as sophomore midfielder Jake McLean knocked in his first career goal on a long distance shot just six minutes into the period.
The Tigers faltered on their next defensive possession though as senior defender Sid Ewell was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving UMBC an extra-man opportunity. The Retrievers converted on the advantage as Patschorke put in a goal to give his team a 5-4 lead going into the fourth.
Mazza continued his strong play early in the final quarter as he sprinted around the cage and flipped in a quick shot to tie the game four minutes into the period. The Retrievers picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of their own on their next defensive possession, giving the Tigers an extra-man opportunity.
The Tigers capitalized on the numbers advantage as Mazza scored off a feed from redshirt senior attacker Jean-Luc Chetner, giving the home team its first lead of the day.
“We made a couple mistakes in the third and fourth quarter so to have an opportunity like that was huge,” Mazza said.
Towson stayed hot on offense as junior midfielder Grant Maloof scored an unassisted goal after a ground ball pickup from Chetner, giving his team a 7-5 advantage with seven minutes left to play.
Mazza added to his impressive stat line just one minute later when he put in another unassisted goal, his fourth of the day. He finished the game with seven points on five goals and two assists, leading the Tigers to a fourth quarter rally.
“To be able to dig in in the fourth quarter, which has been a little bit of [an] issue to this point in the season, and get a win was something I was excited about,” Nadelen said.
Junior midfielder Alex Woodall was also a key component in the comeback win as he finished with 15 faceoff wins out of 18 attempts despite UMBC throwing three different faceoff opponents at him.
Woodall did not play much in the team’s loss to Loyola on Wednesday, but he responded with a convincing performance in this game.
“He didn’t play a ton against Loyola and hopefully that had him be a little bit fresher for today,” Nadelen said. “I know he wasn’t happy with how Loyola panned out, so it was good to see him respond the way he did today. I didn’t expect anything different.”
Towson looks to carry its momentum from this win into its next competition against Ohio State Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Game time is set for 4 p.m.
“[This win] should be a good [confidence boost],” Nadelen said. “We know our next opponent is going to be just as tough. They’re coming off a tough loss so they’ll be chomping at the bit to get after it again. Our biggest challenge is not beating ourselves so that continues to be our focus.”