Towson downs Drexel, advances to CAA championship
By: Jordan Cope, Senior Editor
Towson defeated rival Drexel 8-4 in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament for the third straight year Thursday at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
“We earned a tough CAA win against Drexel,” Head Coach Shawn Nadelen said. “I’m proud of my guys for staying mentally focused and capitalizing on a lot of opportunities.”
The Tigers (9-4, 4-1 CAA) got on the board just two minutes into the first quarter when senior attackman Tyler Konen ripped a shot into the upper right corner of the net. However, the Dragons (6-8, 3-2 CAA) netted a goal and tied the game 1-1 with 5:05 left in the first.
“We were a little tight, so I was worried there in the first quarter,” Nadelen said. “We did a good job of settling down.”
In the second quarter, Drexel took its only lead of the game when freshman defensive midfielder Cam Harris ripped a shot past senior goalkeeper Matt Hoy to give his team a 2-1 lead.
Following Harris’ tally, the Tigers scored three unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead into halftime. Senior midfielder Mike Lynch and senior midfielder Tyler Young each scored during that run.
“Our attack produces a lot, obviously,” Lynch said. “When we can initiate and draw slides and move it, it really opens up the offense. We were just able to grind them down and win our individual matchups, which is key.”
In the second half, Towson picked up where it left off and extended its run to 5-0. Konen and Young got on the scoresheet early into the third quarter to give Towson the 6-2 advantage.
Freshman defender Marshal King stopped the bleeding for Drexel and cut Towson’s lead in half when he beat Hoy for his 12th goal of the season. However, sophomore midfielder Jon Mazza gave Towson another four-goal lead by scoring his 14th goal of the season to end the quarter.
In the fourth, senior attackman Joe Seider gave the Tigers an insurance goal and an 8-3 lead with 2:30 left in the game. The Dragons beat Hoy one more time to cut the Tigers’ lead in half, but ultimately ran out of time and fell 8-4.
Sophomore midfielder Alex Woodall won 14 of 16 draws on the afternoon, while Hoy made seven saves.
“We were really just able to play in ourselves and just really trust one another,” junior defender Sid Ewell said. “When you’re winning all the face-offs that Alex was doing, it just really takes pressure off of us. Then when you have Hoy playing the way that he does, really you can just have more trust, and we can just rotate a lot more defensively.”
Towson will have Friday off to prepare to play rival University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in Saturday’s CAA Championship Game. Massachusetts defeated the No. 2 seed Hofstra in its CAA semifinals matchup.
In one meeting with the Minutemen this year, the Tigers earned an 11-8 victory at Johnny Unitas Stadium. In that contest, Sieder and Lynch each notched two goals.
The opening face-off for Saturday’s CAA Championship Title Game is set for 1 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium.