May 5, 2010

Towson Downs UMass, Advances to CAA Final

from press release

TOWSON, Md. -- Top-seeded Towson erased an early 2-0 deficit and broke from a 3-3 tie with a 9-1 run en route to a 13-6 victory over Massachusetts to advance to Saturday's Colonial Athletic Association men's lacrosse championship game.

The Tigers, who improved to 7-7 with their semifinal victory, will face rival Delaware in Johnny Unitas Stadium at 2:30. The second-seeded Blue Hens (9-6) advanced by beating Drexel (10-5) 15-12 in the other semifinal. It will be the Tigers' sixth appearance in the CAA title game in eight years.

The Minutemen's season ends with an 8-6 record.

UMass goalkeeper Tim McCormack gave the Tigers a fit early, saving Towson's first four shots in the opening four minutes of play. But the Tigers kept up the barrage and would finally retire him with 12 saves midway in the fourth quarter.

Wilt Manny started the scoring when he came from behind and took a feed from Steve D'Amario to put the Minutemen ahead 1-0 with 7:37 left in the opening period. Bobby Hayes followed with an unassisted marker less than two minutes later for a 2-0 lead.

Matt Hughes stopped the Minutemen's early surge when he scored unassisted at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter.

Towson jumped off to a fast start in the second quarter and kept the run alive with two goals. Carl Iacona evened the score with a 10-yard zinger a minute and a half into the period. Hughes tallied his second goal of the contest less than a minute later to give the Tigers their first lead of the contest, 3-2.

Ryan Liebel ended Towson's run 56 seconds later with a score to knot the contest at 3-3. Towson grabbed the lead again as Will Harrington caught the Minutemen napping when he scored while subbing on the fly. Iacona padded the margin at the 5:00 mark with an unassisted goal that sent the Tigers into the lockeroom with a 5-3 halftime lead.

UMass didn't waste any time in the third quarter, scoring five seconds into the period when Anthony Toresco won the faceoff and passed to D'Amario for the goal. But the Tigers shook it off and embarked on a seven-goal run ignited by Harrington 50 seconds later with his second marker of the contest. Towson's defense held the Minutemen scoreless for the next 24 minutes during the run.

Tim Stratton added to the Tigers' lead when he won a loose ball chase with McCormack and then beat the UMass keeper back to the net for an unassisted score and a 7-4 Towson advantage. Christian Pastirik made it 14 consecutive games with a point when he tallied unassisted at the 5:13 mark. Hughes kept the run going with a hat trick goal for a 9-4 Tigers' lead.

Pastirik beat the clock with an extra man goal off a pass from Brock Armour with 20 seconds left in the quarter that gave Towson a commanding  10-4 lead. That seemed to sap UMass of its fight.

Enjoying their biggest lead against any opponent this season, the Tigers would add to the margin with goals by Matt Lamon and Pastirik. Greg Rushing finally stopped the bleeding for the Minutemen with a goal at the 5:10 mark.

Towson keeper Travis Love finished with 11 saves, eight coming in the second half.


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