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No. 15 Towson pulls away early to beat UMass

By: Ryan Callinan

Senior midfielder Mike Lynch scored two goals against UMass.

Six straight goals to start the game by the No. 15 Towson Tigers proved to be too much for the UMass Minutemen to overcome, as an 11-8 Towson home win earned them a 2-0 start in Colonial Athletic Association play and a 6-3 record overall. Eight players found the score sheet for the Tigers, while Ryan Drenner led the way in the assist column with four on the afternoon.

The game started out a bit sloppy with both teams committing a few unforced turnovers early, but Towson would be the first to settle down when they managed to get on the scoreboard at the 6:32 mark from an outside shot by Jon Mazza that found the lower right corner. They would add to their lead four minutes later when Drenner delivered a nice pass to Dylan Kinnear, who was posted up in front of the UMass goal. Kinnear faked a shot high and then beat the UMass goalie low past his sprawling feet to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead, and that would be the score after the first 15 minutes of play.

A dominant second quarter performance by Towson’s Alex Woodall from the faceoff X may have been the difference in the game. Woodall won eight of nine faceoffs in the period, and with the continual possessions, Towson’s offense found a groove and they scored four goals within the first six minutes of the quarter to take a commanding 6-0 lead.

UMass finally got on the board just under eight minutes before halftime with a nice goal by Gianni Bianchin who dragged his defender around the cage and then fired a shot over his shoulder from a tight angle, painting the lower right corner.

However, Towson would add another on a man-up opportunity a minute later as Drenner slid a pass over to an open Mike Lynch, whose powerful shot whizzed past Smith and restored the Tiger’s six-goal advantage.

UMass would score the next two to make it 7-3, but a late goal by Joe Seider increased the home side’s lead to 8-3 heading into the half.

Towson’s defense was impressive throughout the game, but especially in the first 30 minutes, stifling the variety of options the Minutemen have in Grant Consoletti, Dan Muller, and Tyler Bogart.

“Bogart obviously was a point of emphasis,” Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen said. “He’s one of their top guys, and I think Coach [Dan] Cocchi does a great job preparing our guys. Their offense is talented, but they run what they run and they’re very consistent with that. It kind of felt like a football preparation- like, when they’re in this situation, they’re going to be running this, and when they’re in these positions, they’re going to be running x, y, and z. So, I thought we had pretty good anticipation of what to expect with regards to what they were running.”

Bogart was held to only one goal and one assist on the day, while Consoletti recorded only one assist. Muller proved to be tough to pin down as he scored three goals, but overall Towson’s defense smothered UMass’s attack, holding them to eight goals on 27 shots while also forcing 13 turnovers.

Although Towson was dominating play all over the field, UMass showed some fight in the second half. After only allowing two third quarter goals, the visitors closed the deficit to three with 8:12 left in regulation when Muller capped off a hat trick. A bad Towson turnover sparked a UMass breakout, which then led to a wide open Muller right in front of the goal, who couldn’t have missed if he tried. The score made it 10-7, and coach Nadelen called a timeout to regroup his team.

As the Tigers exited the timeout, Zach Goodrich may have scored the game’s most important goal when he grabbed the ground ball off the ensuing face-off, ran the length of the field, and fired home a shot from 10 yards out to make it 11-7.

Towson would kill off the remaining eight minutes of play with more great defense and patient possessions. Both teams would add one more goal each, but a missed attempt by UMass and ground ball recovered by Towson with less than three minutes remaining sealed the visitor’s fate, as Towson was able to play keep away to end the game.

All three of Towson’s remaining regular-season games are against conference opponents. Their first two will be on the road, starting with an April 15 clash at Fairfield.

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Ryan Callinan

Staff Writer
Ryan Callinan was born with a passion for sports. He grew up playing soccer, basketball, and baseball; all sports he enjoyed, but it was soccer that he excelled at the most. HIs talent in soccer earned him a scholarship to Calvert Hall College High School, where he made varsity all four years and won two MIAA Championship. Then he earned a scholarship to play at UMBC for coach Peter Caringi. Two unfortunate knee injuries cut his soccer career short, but that’s when he found a love for writing. He ended up transferring to Towson University, graduated with a degree in English and worked his way to becoming a sports writer. After joining So Much Sports he was inspired to further pursue his graduate degree in journalism at Towson University. So while maybe his dream of becoming a pro soccer player won’t be realized, his might still be able to cover pro soccer teams. The sport it still his true love.

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