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Tigers top Blue Hens for first time in 7 years

By: Desmond Boyle

Natalie Pinkney scored what would prove to be the game-winner early as the Tigers beat Delaware for the first time in seven years.

Natalie Pinkney scored what would prove to be the game-winner early as the Tigers beat Delaware for the first time in seven years.

On a rain-soaked field the Tigers consistently exploited space along either flank as the Blue Hens set up in a narrow zone formation. Freshmen wingers Nikki Logan and Justine Stoner had acres of space in front of them nearly every time they received the ball, which stretched the Delaware defense. And it led to the Towson women’s soccer team getting a 1-0 victory, their first victory over the Blue Hens in seven years.

“We thought we could stretch them with the width and we were able to do that several times.” Head Coach Gary Paynter said.

Towson earned a corner just three minutes into the game. The Blue Hens managed to clear and create two chances on the counter but could not capitalize. Just a few minutes later, senior attacker Natalia Pinkney managed to capitalize on the counter for the Tigers for what proved to be the game-winning goal with the only score of the game.

“To get a win against Delaware, who was ranked number one in our conference coming into this game feels great.” Pinkney said.

After clearing the ball from their own midfield, senior midfielder Emily Marshall collected the ball for Towson and lifted a pass over the top to Pinkney. Pinkney collected the ball and ran past redshirt junior defender Ari Fryer before shooting past redshirt junior goalkeeper Kailyn Rekos who came off her line early but couldn’t get anything on the shot.

Delaware would go on to dominate possession for most of the half, as Towson’s senior stopper Taylor Sebaolo had to make four of her five saves in the first half. The Tiger’s defense also managed to block two shots in the first half as the Blue Hens managed to get 10 shots off in the opening 45 minutes.

“Delaware’s a good team, they’re a good attacking team and we knew we would have a couple chances but we would have to withstand the pressure for the first thirty minutes. I think our depth really helped us.” Paynter said.

The Tigers did manage to create another clear cut chance before the end of the half. After a quick stretch of possession, Towson had the ball in the Delaware penalty area and the Blue Hens struggled to clear.

After a scuffed clearance, the ball fell to senior striker Evelyn Neidert who turned past one defender before blasting a shot from six yards out that was smothered by Rekos. Towson managed four shots in the first half, putting three on target.

The pace of the game slowed in the second half, both teams struggled to make use of any possession they could maintain. The Tigers defense became suffocating as the Blue Hens were held without a shot for the opening 34 minutes of the half.

Towson continued to press the action primarily from the flanks, as Rekos work in the second half mostly consisted of collecting crosses from Towson’s attackers who could not managed to find a teammate in the box.

Delaware’s one chance of the second half was a good one, as the Blue Hens were able to control possession more as the game went on into the latter stages. After one period of sustained possession the Blue Hens worked the ball into the Towson penalty area and the ball fell to freshman forward Jillian Vassallo.

Vassallo created space and ripped a shot that looked certain to be going into the upper 90 of the net. Sebaolo managed to leap and snag the ball with both hands and kill the opportunity.

The Tigers managed to stay composed for the final 10 minutes to earn their first conference home win of the season.

Towson’s next game is at home against Drexel University this Sunday at 1 pm.

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Desmond Boyle

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