TOWSON, Md. – It was a game of runs, drama and several late lead changes.
Despite a six-goal run in the second half, the No. 20 Towson University men’s lacrosse team was edged 10-8 by No. 3 Duke Saturday afternoon at Johnny Unitas ® Stadium.
Jon Mazza and Timmy Monhan finished with three points apiece for Towson (3-4) as each Tiger netted two goals and had one assist. Shane Brennan made a baker’s dozen saves, including six in the second half.
Duke (7-1) was paced by hat tricks from Justin Guterding and Peter Conley, while both added one helper apiece. Brad Smith had a game-high four points on one goal and three assists. Danny Fowler made 14 saves for the Blue Devils.
How it Happened
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first quarter. Smith and Guterding scored twoice in a two-minute span before Towson’s Brendan Sunday scored at 6:15 of the frame.
Duke went on a three-goal run over the final five minutes of the period as Guterding, Conley and Lowrie all scored. The final goal of the period from Lowrie was on a man-up after a Koby Smith penalty.
In the final seconds of the first, Mazza drove off the end line and fed Monahan on the doorstep as the latter scored with less than one second left in the first.
Duke’s defense held Towson off the board in the second period as Conley scored twice, once at 7:57 and again at 1:41. The Blue Devils took a 7-2 lead at halftime.
Towson made its adjustments during halftime and ripped off six straight goals through the third quarter and into the fourth.
Mazza started the run at 10:54 of the third, followed by Matt Sovero’s first career goal at 8:35.
Johnny Giuffreda got his first goal since the season opener on Feb. 10, potting a feed from Phil Wies at 8:05.
Monahan capped the third-quarter scoring at 6:17 as he swept across the top of the Duke defense and beat Fowler stickside high.
Thirty seconds into the final frame, Jean-Luc Chetner tied the game at 7-7 as Monahan skipped the ball around the Duke defense and the former put a bounce shot home.
Mazza, who scored the game-winner last Saturday in overtime at Ohio State, gave Towson its first lead of the afternoon at 12:19 of the fourth. He came off the end line and dove to the middle for the go-ahead tally.
However, the lead was short lived as Duke tied the game at 8-8 on Lowrie’s second of the day, this time on a Brad Smith feed. Guterding scored the game-winning goal at 4:43 of the fourth on a Smith dish, setting up Brian Smyth to win the penultimate faceoff. He fed Joe Robertson on the crease for an insurance goal and a 10-8 final score.
Behind the Numbers
Shots were even as each side took 33. Duke opened the game with 11 attempts in the first quarter while Towson took 11 of its own in the fourth.
Ground balls were also even at 20 apiece. The Tigers won the faceoff battle 13-21 as Steven Stillwell won seven of his 11 chances while Alex Woodall went 6-of-10 off the bench. The latter grabbed five ground balls while the former had four.
Brennan made 13 saves, stopping four in the first quarter as the Blue Devils put nine of their 11 shots on goal in that period.
Fowler made a game-high 14 stops, turning aside five in the final quarter to stave off a second Towson rally.
Turnovers plagued the Tigers again as Towson had 17 miscues. Duke turned the ball over nine times. The Tigers struggled in the clearing game, gaining the zone 12 times on 17 qualifying chances. Duke failed on just one clear.
Duke went 1-for-2 on the extra-man, while Towson could not find the net on its two opportunities.
Despite the loss, Towson still leads the all-time series at 7-3. It was the first time in series history the Tigers dropped a home contest against Duke.
Chetner extended his point-scoring streak to 13 straight games, dating back to April 2016 when he played for Richmond. Mazza likewise ran his point streak to nine in a row. Monahan moved his point streak to six.
After struggling in the first two games, Brennan has been strong in cage for Towson, stopping 48 shots in the last four games, hitting double digits in three of those contests.
Up Next For Towson
The Tigers wrap up its Murderer’s Row of games next Saturday with a trip West to take on Denver.
Towson and the Pioneers, who were ranked sixth in the USILA Coaches’ Poll this week, will square off at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium at 2 p.m. EST, noon local.
It will be the third-straight season Towson and Denver have met, splitting the previous two meetings.
Towson won the last meeting 10-9 in Denver in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.