TU falls in CAA championship 8-6 to JMU
The Tigers fell just short of a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, dropping the Colonial Athletic Association championship game 8-6 to the James Madison Dukes.
“A heartbreaking loss for us tonight. We certainly had our opportunities on the offensive end and we showed a lot of fight, causing a lot of turnovers,” Head Coach Sonia LaMonica, who was honored as the CAA’s Coach of the Year during her first year as head coach, said. “We just couldn’t capitalize on the offensive end. I have to credit our team for their fight and never giving up, and that’s been a strong characteristic of our team this season. I take a lot of pride from that, and we’ll grow from this game and we’ll be strong next year.”
Towson got the game’s first goal when junior Jackie LaMonica found the back of the net just eight minutes in. But the Dukes scored the next three goals, taking a 3-1 lead just before the midway point of the opening half.
The Dukes took a 6-3 lead into halftime behind two goals apiece from Mary Kate Lomady and Ariel Lane. Towson got goals from Jackie LaMonica, Rhiannon Coogle and Jess Dunn in the opening 30 minutes.
“It was just playing our game. In the first half, we were a little uncharacteristic for our team,” Sonia LaMonica said. “But we talked about stepping up our level of intensity. Defensively, I thought we played a tremendous game, holding JMU to only two goals in the second half. But we were held to three, so it just wasn’t enough.”
But in the second half the Tigers came out roaring, tying the score with 17:47 to play when Jackie LaMonica scored for the second time in the game.
Exactly three minutes later, the Dukes notched the game-winning goal when Caitlin McHugh beat Towson keeper Mary Teeters to give JMU a 7-6 lead. Annie Brophy added an insurance goal just a minute later, sealing the victory.
The Tigers committed 10 turnovers during the game, which Jackie LaMonica said were self-inflicted.
“We were a little too excited and just were making the mistakes ourselves that we should have been forcing them to make,” Jackie LaMonica said.
The Tigers rebounded from a 1-4 start to capture the first regular season conference title in school history.
Sonia LaMonica said her team kept getting better as the season went on.
“There was enough motivation coming into this game,” she said. “We stuck with the plan and just kept getting better game to game, and I was really proud of how we progressed.”
Dunn finished her career by scoring her 40th goal of this season and 94th in her career.
She led the Tigers in goals this season and extended her goal-scoring streak to 15 with her goal Saturday. She finished the season with the sixth-highest goals per game in the CAA.
But Dunn said it wouldn’t be the last time she’ll come to Towson to watch her team play.
“It’s been great. It’s sad to go, but I’m going to keep coming back and cheering them on,” Dunn said. “They’ll be great.”
Prior to the game, the All-CAA teams were announced and Towson was well represented.
Defender Alexa Demski, Dunn, midfielder Ashley Waldron, and Teeters were all named to the first team, while defender Megan Fitzgerald and Jackie LaMonica were both named to the second team.
Coogle and Kelly Murkey were both selected to the All-Rookie team, and Sonia LaMonica was honored as the CAA’s Coach of the Year.