MATTHEWS, N.C. — Between intermittent periods of heavy rain at the Sportsplex at Matthews Friday night, the Towson University men’s lacrosse team, ranked first in the country, battled past a scrappy Jacksonville team for a 15-13 win to open The Crown Lacrosse Event.
Towson (5-0), which is ranked first in all three national polls, got a five-goal performance from junior attackman Brody McLean. Grant Maloof doubled his previous career best with four goals while Alex Woodall went 23-of-32 at the faceoff X.
Jacksonville (1-5) for a hat trick from Jack Dolan while Jeremy Winston and Evan Tyler contributed two goals apiece.
How it Happened
The Tigers opened the game with back-to-back goals from Luke Fromert and Grant Maloof, both unassisted at 8:27 and 6:53 of the first, respectively.
Jacksonville struck on a Hayden La Vangie marker at 4:59 before Fromert scored the game’s first assisted goal. Andrew Beachem zipped a pass down low to Fromert as the latter curled around the crease at 2:25.
The Tigers finished the first quarter with a 4-1 lead thanks to Brody McLean’s first goal of the night on a Brendan Sunday feed with 31 seconds left on the clock.
Towson, playing as the top-ranked team in the country for the first time in program history, continued a scoring run in the second quarter as Maloof and Sunday scored 40 seconds apart in the first 90 seconds of the frame for a 6-1 lead.
Jacksonville scored back-to-back goals to carve into the lead as Eric Applegate scored at 12:23 followed by Dolan’s first at 9:51. Brody McLean scored his second and 14th of the year to halt a mini Dolphin run.
Jacksonville scored another set of back-to-backers at 6:15 and with 44 seconds to go in the half to make it 7-5 but McLean finished the hat trick with 19 seconds to go as Sunday logged his second assist of the night for an 8-5 halftime lead.
Dolan opened the second-half scoring just 51 seconds in, but Brody McLean evened things back out at 10:27 for a 9-6 Tiger lead.
Jacksonville took advantage of an extra-man situation as Winston scored his second of the evening before a 4-0 Tiger run with Sunday, Maloof, Koby Smith and Jake McLean scoring in succession. Casey Wasserman assisted Sunday’s goal while short stick defensive midfielder Zach Goodrich had the transition helper to Smith.
Towson ended the third quarter with 13-7 advantage, but the scrappy Dolphins fought back, scoring twice in the first 40 seconds of the final frame. Maloof snapped the run at 13:48 but the Dolphins scored four of the game’s next five goals. Evan Tyler logged a marker, followed by Dwayne Mattushik at 11:04.
Brody McLean scored the Tigers’ final goal at 9:50 of the fourth before both teams played a sloppy final eight minutes. Neither team could establish its offense before Jacksonville scored at 2:33 to make it 15-12 in favor of Towson.
Jacksonville’s Bo BowHunter scored with 26 seconds to play on an extra-man goal.
Behind the Numbers
Towson out-shot the Dolphins 36-30, including 10 in the first and 11 in the third, the two periods the Tigers out-scored Jacksonville.
Towson collected 43 ground balls, including 15 in the third quarter, while limiting Jacksonville to 36 ground balls.
Woodall went 23-of-32 at the X, including 14-of-17 in the final 30 minutes. He finished the day with a faceoff winning percentage of 71.9 along with 16 ground balls.
Both sides combined for 38 turnovers in the heavy rain and water logged field. Towson caused 12 of Jacksonville’s 18 turnovers, including three from Gray Bodden and two from Smith and Goodrich.
Head coach Shawn Nadelen won his first game in charge of the number one team in the country. Nadelen’s first career win came back in 2012 against Jacksonville as well.
The Tigers won their seventh-straight regular season game, dating back to last season while also improving to 5-0 for the first time since the 2016 campaign.
Friday night was the first time since the 2013 season in which the Tigers competed on a natural surface.
Woodall moved within reach of second all-time in career faceoff wins as a Tiger, winning the 451st draw of his Black & Gold career. He now trails Matt Eckerl’s 466 by 15.
After taking a quick lead, Towson continued its run of not trailing games, having been behind for just 16 minutes and 31 seconds out of 300 minutes to date.
Towson wore its white jerseys and shorts for the first time this season, having played two home games in its gold throwback jerseys and two road games in all black.
Up Next for Towson
The Tigers will play No. 3/No. 2 Cornell Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
That game will be the third of four games at The Crown Lacrosse Event, hosted at the Sportsplex at Matthews.
Towson and Cornell have not met since the 2007 season and will clash for the first time in the regular season in program history.