University Park, Pa. – Sophomore Ben McCarty scored a career-best six goals to lead Towson men’s lacrosse (9-7) over Drexel (11-4), 11-8, and into the CAA Finals Wednesday evening at PSU Lacrosse Field.
McCarty’s six goals led all scorers. Junior Andrew Hodgson contributed two goals, while sophomore Justin Mabus had three assists. Senior Andrew Wascavage made 14 saves for Towson. Robert Church led Drexel with five points (3g, 2a).
The Tigers advance to the CAA Finals for the first time since 2010 when they defeated UMass in the semifinals before falling to Delaware in the championship game.
Towson’s McCarty opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at 11:27 when he beat Drexel’s Cal Winkelman top left. Drexel quickly equalized at 10:41 when McIntosh received a feed from behind the goal and snuck a shot past Wascavage high left.
But the Tigers reeled off two quick scores to take a 3-1 lead at 8:26 when DeNapoli notched his 39th of the season at 9:38 and McCarty found the back of the net again. Drexel’s Hank Brown kept the Dragons in it with a tally at 7:51. Sophomore Rob Zoppo added a goal for Towson at 3:18 off a pass from classmate Cory Dobyns to increase the Tigers’ lead to two, 4-2.
Towson opened the second quarter with an EMO goal from Hodgson, assist to sophomore Mabus, after Drexel was called for delay of game – a 30-second penalty. Senior Matt Hughes extended the advantage to 6-2 with his sixth goal of the year at 11:52 when he scored from just outside the crease.
McCarty notched his first career hat trick at 5:38 in the second to give the Tigers a five-goal lead, 7-2, and continued his offensive explosion at 1:14 when an extra-man goal from just outside the crease off a dish from Mabus.
The Tigers kept rolling to start the third quarter when Hodgson took a pass from DeNapoli and fired a shot from distance past Winkelman to put Towson up 9-3 at 12:36. However, Drexel mounted a comeback over the next four minutes. The Dragons’ fourth goal came off an odd play. Drexel committed a turnover but the ball was checked out of a Tiger defender’s stick and rolled in the goal. It was credited to Church at 11:25. He scored two more times – at 8:50 when his bounce shot skidded in and then again six seconds later off a face-off.
But McCarty stopped the Dragons’ rally with his fifth goal at 8:00 to keep Towson in front, 10-6. The Dragons didn’t go away. After Towson was called for off-sides, Chris Frederick caught a pass just outside the crease and scored. McIntosh scored his second at 3:05 in the third on an EMO chance to inch the Dragons to within two, 10-8.
McCarty equaled his season goal total (6) when he scored on a man-up opportunity at 10:37 in the fourth off a Mabus pass to give Towson some more breathing room, 11-8. The Tigers’ defense held Drexel scoreless in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
The Tigers will face No. 1 Penn State in the 2013 CAA Tournament final on Friday, May 3 at 3 p.m.