TOWSON, Md. – Behind a perfect goals-to-assist ratio, the Towson University men’s lacrosse team locked up the No. 2 seed in the forthcoming Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Men’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament. The Tigers topped visiting Fairfield 8-7 Saturday afternoon at a sun-soaked Johnny Unitas Stadium as the Tigers claimed a spot in the league tournament for a league record-tying seventh time.
Towson (6-7, 3-2 CAA) junior midfielder Grant Maloof finished the game with four points on two goals and two assists, but the goal of the day belonged to redshirt freshman Luke Fromert. The Stevensville, Maryland scored the game-winning goal on the doorstep with a toe drag after Jean-Luc Chetner hit him with a long skip pass. Chetner finished with two goals and two assists as well.
Fairfield (4-11, 1-4 CAA) was paced by three points on two goals and an assist from Joe Rodrigues. Drew Murray and Colin Burke scored once each and added a helper.
The Tigers will take on third-seeded Delaware Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. The first CAA Semifinal game at Garber Field pits top-seeded University of Massachusetts against fourth-seeded Hofstra at 5 p.m.
How it Happened
The Tiger midfield jumped out of the gate and scored the first three goals of the contest.
Matt Sovero bulleted home the first with a feed from Phil Wies at 13:10 of the opening frame before Grant Maloof notched back-to-back goals at 9:28 and 6:16 of the first. Jean-Luc Chetner had the assist on the first while Brendan Sunday fed the second.
After being shut out in the first stanza, Fairfield rattled off five unanswered goals to take its first lead of the game. Five different Stags scored as Colin Burke and Frankie Labetti scored unassisted. Joe Rodrigues assisted Drew Murray at 5:32 before Travis Ford scored on a bull dodge. Rodrigues got the fifth goal on a feed from Burke at 2:18.
The Tigers snapped the run and trailed 5-4 at half following a Fairfield penalty. The Stags killed off the penalty, but Timmy Monahan scored his 14th of the year on a low-to-high snipe past Sean McKee. Maloof fed Monahan to make 100 percent of the Tigers’ first-half goals assisted.
Towson’s sputtering man-up unit got things going for the Tigers in the third quarter as Wies and Maloof connected on the extra-man with 12:30 to play in the third to tie the game 5-5. It was Towson’s first extra-man goal since March 31 in the league opener at Hofstra.
The Tigers regained a one-goal lead with 8:40 to go in the third frame as Chetner hit a 12-yard step-down shot with a Sunday assist.
Rodrigues scored the final goal of the third quarter with 2:37 to play as Jack Brennan hit him with a feed, tying the game at 6-6.
It marked the third-straight home CAA game the Tigers headed to the fourth quarter tied with their opponent.
The Stags took their final lead of the game with 12:45 to play as Dylan Beckwith finished a feed from Drew Murray.
Towson would not be denied a seventh-straight bid to the CAA Tournament, however, as the Tigers scored the final two goals of the game, with Chetner and Fromert helping one another.
Chetner scored the game-tying goal with 10:09 to play as Fromert through a pass over the top of the crease to a waiting Chetner for the one-timer.
The latter scored the game-winning goal with 3:29 to play in the game as Chetner saw Fromert wide open on the crease. Fromert took a step to his right to increase the angle before two defenders crashed down. The Tiger utilized a toedrag along the crease and finished low to put Towson up 8-7.
Fairfield got one last crack on offense but could not get a shot on frame. Shane Brennan beat out the final shot to the end line to seal the win.
Behind the Numbers
The Tigers out-shot the Stags 38-31, despite Fairfield ripping off 14 shots in the second quarter.
Towson won the faceoff battle 11-17 thanks to a shutout fourth quarter from Alex Woodall, who won all four of the period’s draws. The Tigers grabbed 29 ground balls while limiting Fairfield to 17, including just one in the fourth quarter.
The Class of 2018 collected its 46th win since arriving at Towson University, becoming the second-winningest class in the program’s Division I history, along with the class of 2016.
Towson clinched a berth in the CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament for a seventh-straight time, tying the league record set by Hofstra from 2003-08. The Tigers have never failed to make the Tournament under head coach Shawn Nadelen.
The Tigers improved to 3-0 all-time against Fairfield at home as Nadelen improved to 18-14 in the month of April.
Up Next for Towson
The Tigers return to Amherst, Massachusetts for the 2018 CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament.
Towson draws third-seeded Delaware with a 7:30 p.m. scheduled opening faceoff at Garber Field.
The semifinal winners will square off at 1 p.m. at Garber Field.