SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Towson men’s lacrosse team went punch for punch with the top seeded University of Notre Dame in the first round of the 015 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament, holding a 6-2 lead late in the second half, but the No. 2 Irish rallied and took a 12-10 victory, advancing to the quarterfinals in Denver.
No. 17 Towson (12-6) put together its 20th run of three goals or more with a four-goal spurt late in the first and second quarters, but the Irish (11-2) put together a run of six to take an 8-6 lead with 10:01 left in the third. Towson struck twice in a five minute span to tie the game 8-8, but a four-goal run over a six minute stretch pushed Notre Dame up 12-8. Towson scored twice more to make it a 12-10 game, but it was just shy of enough.
“Congratulations to Notre Dame, they played a tough game. They came out, really put the pressure on us and I was proud of the way we played but Notre Dame made enough things go their way down the stretch and walked away with a good win,” said head coach Shawn Nadelen, making his second appearance in the NCAA Tournament as the head man at Towson.
Three Tigers, Mike Lynch, Tyler Konen and Greg Cuccinello notched two goals apiece while Max Siskind, Spencer Parks, Joe Seider and Ryan Drenner had one apiece. Just Mabus had two assists while Parks and Siskind notched one helper each.
“I could not have been more proud of our guys, or more appreciative of the hustle and attitude our guys approached this game with and how they executed out on the field,” Nadelen said. “We obviously made some mistakes that Notre Dame capitalized on. This was a special team for Towson lacrosse. I’m definitely going to miss this senior class but I know they’ve laid an excellent foundation to go forward with.”
The Tigers did what no team has managed against the Irish all season: the nation’s fourth-best scoring defense held Tewaaraton Award finalist Kevin Kavanagh off the board and without an assist. Conor Doyle led Notre Dame’s eighth-ranked scoring offense with three goals and two assists. Nick Ossello had two goals and a pair of helpers, while Will Corrigan finished with a pair of markers. Sergio Perkovic, Jim Marlatt, P.J. Finley, Eddy Lubowicki and Nick Koshansky had one goal each.
Tiger keeper Tyler White withstood a bevy Notre Dame shots as the Irish ripped off 47, the most by a Towson opponent this season. The redshirt junior stopped 12 Irish shots, including four in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame’s Shane Doss got the win and made eight stops, making a pair of saves in each quarter.
Coming off of some of its best faceoff games of the season, Towson struggled at the X, winning just seven of the game’s 26 draws. Ossello won 11 of his 13 chances, scoring once off of a won draw, while Finley went eight-for-13. Tiger specialist Alec Burckley won three chances, while longstick midfielder Pat Conroy won four of his 10.
Facing a notoriously tough team to clear against, Towson had some success, gaining the zone on 19 of 23 chances. The Irish failed to clear successfully twice on 11 opportunities.
Both teams scored once on the extra-man, with the Tigers getting three man-up chances, all coming in the second half. Notre Dame capitalized just once on four chances against Towson’s sixth-ranked scoring defense.
Each side committed 15 turnovers, including a combined 13 in the fourth quarter, with seven from Notre Dame and six for Towson. The Irish controlled the groundball efforts, with 46 loose balls, including 13 in the third quarter. Towson collected 23 groundballs, with 12 coming in the second half.
After Notre Dame jumped out to a 1-0 lead, the Tigers roared back with four straight from four different sources, Lynch, Siskind, Konen and Drenner. The Irish broke up the run with 7:05 left in the second quarter before Cuccinello and Konen struck again to put Towson, meeting Notre Dame for the first time, back on top 6-2. The Irish, playing for the first time as the Tournament’s overall number one seed, reeled off three unanswered goals to cut it to a 6-5 Towson lead at the halftime break.
Notre Dame continued its run into the second half, reeling off three-straight to open third quarter, including just eight seconds in on Doyle’s 26th of the year. The Tigers broke up the run with back-to-back goals from Lynch and Parks, tying the game for a second time in the half. The Irish ran off four unanswered goals to regain the lead at 12-8. Seider’s team-leading 34th goal pull Towson back within three, followed by the final goal of Greg Cuccinello’s career with 34 seconds left in the game.
Notre Dame advances to face the Great Danes of Albany in the Denver quarterfinal, to be played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.