Surging Towson Upsets No. 7 Drexel
from press release
TOWSON, Md. - Led by a career-high five assists from graduate student Christian Pastirik (St. Mary’s H.S./Annapolis, Md.), Towson University (5-5, 3-0) overcame a two-goal deficit in the third quarter to earn its fourth straight win, an 8-7 Colonial Athletic Association victory over seventh-ranked Drexel University (9-3, 2-1) at the Tigers’ Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Tigers’ leading scorer with 18 goals and 15 assists, Pastirik recorded three of his assists during a pivotal four-goal run by the Tigers, which gave them an 8-6 advantage with 13:19 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“We practiced and competed hard all week and that is why we won this game,” Pastirik said. “After we fell behind, we had to calm down and realized that we could score and get past their guys, but it was going to take a second dodge.”
The Tigers took a quick 1-0 lead off the opening face-off as sophomore attackman Matt Lamon (St. Mary’s H.S./Annapolis, Md.) scored off a pass from freshman midfielder Ryan DeSmit (Friends School/Towson, Md.) just five seconds into the game.
But, the Dragons answered just over a minute later when senior attackman Colin Ambler (Abington H.S./Abington, Pa.) converted a pass from junior attackman Scott Perri (Smithtown West H.S./Smithtown, N.Y.) for his 19th goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1.
The teams traded goals twice during the final 13 minutes of the opening stanza for a 3-3 tie at the end of the period.
After the teams exchanged goals in the first 11 minutes of the second quarter, the Dragons took a 5-4 lead into the intermission when senior midfielder Adam Dennis (DeMatha H.S./Fairfax, Va.) scored an unassisted goal past junior goalkeeper Travis Love (Winters Mill H.S./Westminster, Md.) with just nine seconds remaining in the period.
The Dragons upped their lead to 6-4 with 11:46 left in the third quarter when sophomore midfielder Andrew Collins (Lakeland H.S./Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) scored off a feed from sophomore midfielder Chris Farquhar (West Potomac H.S./Alexandria, Va.).
However, the Tigers answered with a four-goal rally to turn the two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead early in the fourth quarter. With 7:03 remaining in the third period, sophomore midfielder Carl Iacona (Massapequa H.S./Massapequa, N.Y.) scored an unassisted goal to trim the margin to 6-5.
Then, sophomore midfielder Michael Brashears (Calvert Hall College H.S./Timonium, Md.) tied the game at 6-6 with his second goal of the contest, an extra-man marker off a pass from Pastirik with 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Just 45 seconds into the fourth quarter, senior midfielder Brock Armour (Western Reserve Academy/Victoria, B.C., Canada) gave the Tigers a 7-6 advantage when he took a pass from Pastirik and scored past sophomore goalkeeper Mark Manos (Salesianum H.S./West Chester, Pa.) for his third goal of the season.
The Tigers upped the lead to 8-6 less than a minute later when senior midfielder Will Harrington (Friends School/Baltimore, Md.) scored off a feed from Pastirik.
But, the Dragons responded with 7:55 left when freshman attackman Robert Church (Charles Best H.S./Coquitlam, B.C., Canada) tallied his 27th goal of the season off a feed from freshman midfielder Aaron Prosser (Lincoln H.S./Portland, Ore.).
After the Tigers held the ball for nearly five minutes late in regulation, the Dragons had one last chance to tie the game after a penalty was called with nine seconds remaining. Church had a shot from 18 yards away, but Love stopped the point-blank attempt as time expired to preserve the victory.
“I’ve never thought of winning a game on a save before, but I knew I was going to save that shot,” Love said. “I told myself that there was no way I was going to let that goal in.”
While Pastirik led the Tigers with five assists, Harrington and Brashears each scored two goals. Love, who was named as CAA Co-Player of the Week on Monday, made five of his seven saves in the second half.
“Our seniors are unbelievable,” said Towson Coach Tony Seaman. “They are hanging in there and giving great efforts. They refuse to lose right now and they hang in there and battle.
“The players believe in themselves and they are having fun,” Coach Seaman added. “We played so many good teams early on and we lost some close games. But, we were ready to play tonight.”
Manos made 14 saves in a losing effort for the Dragons, who were outshot by a 29-22 margin. Ambler and Perri each had a goal with an assist.
The Tigers, who have won four straight games for the first time since 2006, will play their final home game of the regular season next Saturday afternoon against Penn State at 12 noon. The game will be televised on WMAR-TV in the Baltimore area and nationally on ESPNU.
The Dragons, who had their three-game win streak snapped, will travel to Delaware on Saturday afternoon for a 7 p.m. game against the Blue Hens.
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