By: Tyler Beard, Staff Writer
Towson had its first game of the season, a crosstown rivalry against UMBC, postponed twice. That meant Saturday’s game at the Monmouth Blue Hawks, who were already 3-0 on the season, was the first game for Towson in 2015.
The Tigers scored four goals, the fewest goals in a game since March 9, 2013 against Syracuse, but held on to beat the Blue Hawks, erasing a 3-1 halftime deficit to win their second straight season opener.
“Our time was due,” Head Coach Sonia LaMonica said. “We definitely just needed to get out, as much as the game quite the grind. It’s just nice to get a [win] under our belt. … We should have put more points on the board, but we did our job defensively. Because we did our job defensively, we could come out with a win.”
Monmouth began the game on the attack, getting on the scoreboard just over a minute into the game. After a foul on junior midfielder Breanna Hamm, Monmouth’s Olivia Higson scored an unassisted goal to put her team up, 1-0.
Higson found the net again four minutes later, scoring another unassisted goal to make it 2-0 with 24:54 left in the first half.
“We didn’t seem like we were truly hungry for a long portion of that game,” LaMonica said. “I think we were a little wound up and tense. … It was nice that we were able to pull out a win despite putting ourselves in a tough situation against a good Monmouth team.”
The teams went back and forth for the next 15 minutes, trading a few chances, but neither could convert until eight minutes left in the half. Senior midfielder Paige Duncan scored Towson’s first goal of the season off an assist from senior forward Andi Raymond.
However, the Tigers couldn’t tie the game up before halftime. Instead, it was the Blue Hawk that added to their lead with 2:06 left in the half, when midfielder Marial Pierce beat Tigers goalie Kelsea Donnelly for the goal to make it 3-1.
Despite leading, 8-4, in shots on goal and 5-1 in draw controls, Towson went in the half down two goals.
The Tigers struck first in the second half, after freshman Erika Cavallo was stopped on a free position shot. A few minutes later, sophomore forward Gabby Cha made it 3-2 with her first goal of the season off another Raymond assist.
Towson controlled the next 10 minutes, but couldn’t get past Monmouth goalie Katie Donohoe. However, the away team broke through with 9:30 left in the game.
Following a Blue Hawks foul, senior attacker Taylor Moore received a pass from Cha and beat Donohoe to tie the game.
“We had opportunities throughout the game that we didn’t do a good of maybe finishing,” LaMonica said. “When push came to shove and we really needed to play better, somebody like Taylor Moore really taking her opportunity to move the goalie and put the ball in the back of net to tie the game. That really was a bit of a turning point for us.”
Less than a minute later, the Tigers took the 4-3 lead. Freshman midfielder Kaitlyn Montalbano got her first career goal, which came on a free position shot with 8:47 left in the game.
Montalbano finished with one goal on two shots and three ground balls.
“I think it’s great to see a freshman step up and make something happen there,” LaMonica said. “She’s been poised to come out and contribute right away. She’s got the athleticism and the skill. We’ve had defenders come in early as freshmen, we’ve had an attacker, and now we’re seeing that from her.”
After the goal, it was up to the Towson defense to hold the lead, and it allowed just two shots through the rest of the game. Towson held on to win its first game of the season.
The Tigers outshot the Blue Hawks, 19-15, and led in draw controls, 8-2. The Blue Hawks managed just three shots on goal in the second half.
Towson will be back in action March 7, when it travels to Washington, D.C. to face Georgetown for its second game of the season.