Tigers blow late lead against UMass, lose in overtime
With the Tigers (2-8, 0-3 CAA) up by two going into the final minutes of Saturday’s contest against the University of Massachusetts, the Minutemen (7-3, 2-1 CAA) answered with two goals, including one that just beat the buzzer, to send the game into overtime.
Despite the fact that senior midfielder Pat Britton scored three goals in the fourth quarter to help propel the Tigers to their first lead of the game, they faced defeat at the hands of sophomore attack Kyle Smith, who scored with 2:05 left in overtime to give UMass a 9-8 victory at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
“Sometimes that’s life, and that’s been the life of this team this entire year and I have [no] rhyme or reason for it,” Towson head coach Tony Seaman said. “Everything we did out there we practiced extensively every single day.”
With every game becoming more and more important, to drop a game because of mental miscues at this crucial point in the season is very upsetting, Britton said.
“It’s very disheartening,” Britton said. “To make a comeback like that, then just have mental mistakes be the cause of the loss and they score with one second left, it kills momentum that we did have and then going into overtime. They had momentum, and we are kind of scratching our heads at what the hell happened.”
After Towson fell behind early, giving up a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Tigers scored two unanswered goals from freshman midfielder Andrew Hodgson and senior attackman Tim Stratton to even the game at 2.
However, the Minutemen would take the advantage when sophomore defender Ryan Hollenbaugh scored his first career goal with 3:53 left in the second. UMass went into halftime with a 3-2 lead.
The 13th-ranked Minutemen wasted no time in increasing their lead to two at the start of the third.
Junior midfielder Gregg Rushing found the back of the net to give Massachusetts a 4-2 advantage.
About four minutes later, Towson’s Matt Hughes scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season to cut the Tiger deficit to one.
But Will Manny scored his second goal of the game to put the Minutemen up by two again.
The Tigers scored four unanswered goals, two by Britton, between the end of the third and the start of the fourth to give Towson a 7-5 lead with 6:47 left to play.
For everything that Britton did, Manny could do just as well.
They went back and forth to score two goals apiece in about a four minute stretch in the last period of play to keep their respective teams in the game.
Britton finished with three goals, while Manny finished with a career-high four.
Towson keeper Travis Love, who was pulled in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game against UMBC, finished the game with a season-high 13 saves.
With just three games left on the regular season schedule, the Tigers will likely have to win out if they want to have a shot at making the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.
“You’ve got to put it behind you. All we can do is look at the next three games and win out,” Britton said. “Hopefully 3-3 in the CAA is good enough to get us into the CAA Tournament and then try and win out from there.”