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Defense wins Tigers CAA Championship

By: Myles Nelson

Towson CAA title

It doesn’t have to be high school to be an exciting and intense game. That was proven when Towson met Fairfield in the CAA championship game on Saturday afternoon. Two weeks ago, the Tigers won the game 18-11, but this 4-2 slugfest was drama filled until the very end but ended with the same victory. But this time Towson punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a sixth CAA title, and second-straight.

“It was an exciting game to be a part of, for a championship, and obviously they came out tuned up, ready to roll, put us in a hole and made us do everything we could to come back in that second half. I’m extremely proud of our players for their resiliency and ability to push forward and continue to stay focused on being able to make the next play,” Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen said. “I can’t say enough about my staff for getting these guys prepared in the short turnaround to make sure that we were ready to go and able to perform at our best. Our guys deserve everything that’s come to them because they’ve worked for it, and I’m proud of them.”

Neither team scored in the first quarter as both defenses came out playing a tight and intense game. There was a total of 15 shots fired at both teams’ goals, and not a single one hit the net. Towson goalkeeper Tyler White had four saves in the quarter, but the highlight of the quarter came when Fairfield’s Tyler Behring made a save from his knees after falling out of position.

Charlie Schnider finally scored the first goal of the game with 13:11 left in the second quarter, giving Fairfield a 1-0 lead. Charlie Horning scored the only other goal of the half. Towson trailed 2-0 at halftime.

In the first half the usually high-powered Towson offense was just nowhere to be found. For the first time in two years, they were held scoreless in the first half. The Tigers took just 12 shots compared to Fairfield’s 23. They weren’t just not shooting. Often times, there was no good shot to be taken. The usual easy shots they get cutting to the crease just weren’t there. Every time a Towson player got the ball, there was a swarm of defenders between him and the goal. The Tiger’s just couldn’t find a hole in the defense they were facing.

“I think the first half we were, you know sort of getting all out of sorts. Similar to the Delaware game we just were not playing our game. I have to give credit to the Fairfield goalie, he was playing a hell of a game too. After half time and in all the timeouts all we were just talking about taking it one play at a time, and one step at a time and getting the shots on cage, and eventually they’ll fall in,” attackman Spencer Parks, who scored two of the Tigers four goals, said.

With 13:52 left in the third quarter, one finally in, getting the Tigers on the board. After a wide right shot by Mike Lynch, the Tigers got the ball back and Spencer Parks was able to find Tyler Konen for the score. After a high shot by Horning, and a turnover by Colin Burke, Towson was able to successfully clear and Joe Seider tied the game with the assist from Ryan Drenner. Alec Burckley would win the ensuing faceoff leading to a Spencer Parks goal. Jon Mazza was there on the assist.

Towson’s defense smothered Fairfield on a possession early in the fourth quarter, leading to a shot clock violation. Patrick Conroy caused Schnider to turn the ball over. The dagger came with 6:10 left in regulation. After a successful clear, Parks got an unassisted goal giving Towson a two point lead. That would be enough to secure the victory.

It now lies in the hands of the selection committee. The Tigers will find out who their next opponent will be on Sunday at 9:00 pm when the NCAA Selection Show airs on ESPNU.

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