AMHERST, Mass. — For a fifth-straight season, the Towson University men’s lacrosse advanced to the CAA Championship game after besting third-seeded University of Delaware 18-11 on Thursday night.
No. 12/No. 12 Towson (10-4) had a record-setting night from faceoff specialist Jack McNallen, who went 27-of-31 at the X, breaking the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament record while tying the league’s overall single-game mark. He collected 17 ground balls while setting a school record for faceoff wins in a game as well.
Towson had a four-pack of hat tricks as Brendan Sunday led the day with a CAA Tournament-record eight points on three goals and five points. Brody McLean, Timmy Monahan and Luke Fromert all chipped in four goals.
Delaware (10-5) was paced by four points from Charlies Kitchen (2g, 2a) and a four-goal effort from Joe Eisele. Matt DeLuca made 16 saves in net for the Blue Hens, who had their season ended Thursday night at Garber Field.
How it Happened
The Blue Hens held a 2-1 lead after 15 minutes as Clay Miller and Jackson Finigan scored goals wrapped around a Sunday tally at 8:42 of the first period.
Like the meeting between the teams two weeks ago, Towson came out slow in the first quarter before exploding on offense in the second frame. Towson out-scored the Blue Hens 6-3 in the second 15 minute stretch.
Delaware grabbed a 3-1 lead early in the third as Kitchen scored his first of the night before Towson close defenseman Gray Bodden scored his first goal of the season, catching the Blue Hens with an empty net on a 10-man ride.
Brody McLean scored back-to-back goals to give Towson its first lead of the night at 4-3 with Sunday and Drew Laundry assisting those efforts.
Delaware got back-to-back goals of its own, from Kitchen and Jake Govett for a 5-4 lead. That sparked a nine-goal run for the Tigers that crossed over the halftime break. Sunday scored twice in the final four minutes while Brody McLean also completed the first half hat trick.
Coming out of the break, Towson continued its torrid offense as Monahan and Fromert potted goals in a minute stretch, followed by Brody McLean getting an assist from the unrelated Jake McLean.
Monahan continued the run at 9:03 of the third followed by Grant Maloof on an extra-man chance. Fromert cashed in on the same penalty that Maloof drew for a 13-5 Towson advantage.
The Blue Hens posted three-straight goals, two from Eisele and one from Dean DiSimone.
Towson broke up the run with a three-goal stretch of its own with Monahan snapping the Hens’ run, followed by back-to-back strikes from Fromert.
In the fourth quarter, Eisele scored twice for Delaware and one more from Finigan also scored. Monahan got his final goal of the day at 6:37 of the fourth while McNallen got his fourth of the season seven seconds after that for the final Towson goal of the night.
Behind the Numbers
Towson set or tied numerous records in the win, including most goals in a CAA Tournament game with 18.
Sunday tied a CAA Tournament record with his eight points while McNallen set a Tournament record with his 27 faceoff wins.
McNallen’s 27 wins represent a Towson school record as well, surpassing Justin Berry’s 25 wins against Loyola in 2001. It was the most faceoff wins by a Tiger in the Shawn Nadelen Era (2012).
Towson out-shot the Blue Hens 57-33, uncorking 20 shots in the third quarter. It was the most shots by Towson in a game under Nadelen, passing the 52 taken earlier this season against UMass.
The 18 goals for Towson mark the most scored by Towson since logging an equal number on May 11, 2016 against Hobart in the a play-in game of the NCAA Tournament. Towson had eight assists on the 18 goals, combing for 26 points, the third-most points in the Nadelen Era.
Up Next for Towson
Towson makes its fifth-straight appearance in the CAA Championship game and second straight at Garber Field.
The second-seeded Tigers take on fourth-seeded Drexel at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Game time is set for 1 p.m. and will be carried on Lax Sports Network and the Towson Sports Network.