AMHERST, Mass. — Behind four players with hat tricks and 17 saves in goal, the Towson University men’s lacrosse team captured its eight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship with a thrilling 16-14 win over Drexel University Saturday afternoon at Garber Field.
Co-Offensive Player of the Year Brendan Sunday finished with three goals en route to being named as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player thanks to an eight-goal outburst Thursday night. In the title game, Timmy Monahan had six points on two goals and four assists while Brody McLean and Grant Maloof turned in three goals apiece. Luke Fromert led the game with four goals, including a SportsCenter-worthy no-angle buzzer beater. Tyler Canto made 17 saves in goal, including 11 in the second half to stave off a Drexel surge.
Towson (11-4) earned the CAA’s automatic qualifying bid to the forthcoming NCAA Tournament. The Tigers will learned their next opponent during the NCAA Selection Show, hosted Sunday night on ESPNU with a 9 p.m. start time.
In addition to Sunday’s MOP status, Monahan, Canto and Zach Goodrich earned All-Tournament honors.
Drexel (7-8) battled back with a 5-0 fourth quarter, but the comeback fell short. Ryan Genord and Reid Bowering had three goals apiece while Matthew Varian led the Dragons with two assists. Ross Blumenthal made 11 saves in goal for the Dragons.
How it Happened
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead as Sunday and McLean scored back-to-back goals three minutes into the contest. Drexel rallied back to score two-straight from Collin Mailman and Jack Mulcahy at 10:29 and 8:31, respectively.
Towson regained the lead as Goodrich forced a turnover at the defensive end, collected by Gray Bodden who found Luke Fromert at the other end for the transition go-ahead.
Drexel took its first lead of the day at 4-3 with back-to-back goals from Bowering and Genord. But the Tigers had the last laugh in a high-scoring first quarter with a pair to close out the period from Monahan and Fromert.
Towson extended its scoring run to four 90 seconds into the second period as Maloof and McLean scored for a 7-4 advantage.
The Dragons surged once again and deadlocked the game on three straight goals from Matt Klinges, Chris McLallen and Genord. McLallen’s goal came on the extra-man.
The Tigers dominated the final six minutes of the first half, reeling off five-straight goals from Maloof on the man-up, Sunday then Fromert, followed by Jake and Brody McLean for a 12-7 halftime lead.
Drexel scored the first goal of the third quarter from Genord, but the Tigers ripped off another three-goal run from Monahan, Maloof and Sunday. The Dragons made it 15-9 as faceoff specialist Jimmeh Koita scored, but Fromert got the final goal of the third as he scored on a below-GLE, diving goal that finished into the top right corner.
Drexel, a noted scrappy team, battled back the entire fourth quarter, scoring five-straight. Bowering scored twice while Mailman, McLallen and Nick Fox finished the game’s scoring.
Behind the Numbers
Shots were nearly even as the Tigers took 48, including 19 in the second quarter. Drexel out-shot Towson 18-6 in the fourth quarter.
Canto made 17 saves for the Tigers, stopping 11 Dragon shots in the second half.
Drexel controlled the faceoff X, winning 23 of the 33 draws en route to a 35-22 effort in ground balls.
Towson turned the ball over 13 times, including a mistake-free second quarter. Drexel had 19 miscues. Towson gained the offensive zone 15 times on 17 attempts while riding Drexel to four failed clears (16-20).
Combined with 18 goals Thursday night against Delaware, Towson scored 34 goals in the CAA Tournament, setting a conference championship record. The previous mark was 33 goals scored by the Tigers in their first-ever CAA Tournament in 2003.
With the win, Towson captured its eight CAA championship since joining the league and fifth under head coach Shawn Nadelen (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).
Towson has won as many CAA championships as the rest of the current members combined.