Tigers unable to hold off Greyhounds
Towson lost its third straight game of the season Wednesday night, to the defending National Champion No. 2 Loyola 14-9.
Towson (0-3) dug itself into a hole early in the game, trailing Loyola (2-0) 6-1 midway through the second quarter.
But a second quarter offensive surge led by junior attack man Thomas DeNapoli resulted in three straight Towson goals.
The game was in reach at 6-4 with just minutes remaining in the half.
“We were right there in that game and I was proud of the way our guys fought back,” Head Coach Shawn Nadelen said.
Two late goals in the second quarter by the Greyhounds gave them an 8-4 lead heading into halftime.
The first half success by the Greyhounds can be accredited to senior attack man Mike Sawyer, who scored three goals in the game’s opening half.
He went on to finish the game with four goals.
Face-offs continue to be a struggle for the Tigers. After losing the face-off battle in the team’s first two games, the trend continued with Towson winning just 12-of-28 face-offs.
Nadelen decided to make a roster move on face-offs, inserting freshman midfielder Conor Pequigney into the rotation.
Pequigney won 11-of-23 face-offs for the game.
Pequigney won more face-offs Wednesday night than the entire Towson team did in each of the first two games of the season.
After an impressive second quarter, the attack for the Tigers stalled to start the second half. The team scored just two goals in the third quarter as Loyola stretched its lead to 11-6 heading in the fourth quarter.
The majority of the fourth quarter worked in Towson’s favor, as the DeNapoli-led attack started the quarter off with two quick goals. Loyola led 11-8 with only eight minutes remaining in the game.
DeNapoli went on to finish the game with a team-high four goals and tied Sawyer for the game-high.
While the Towson attack experienced success Wednesday night, the team failed to convert on any of its four man-up opportunities. Loyola, however, scored on four of its five man-up chances.
Nadelen noted after the game that his team must improve its man-down defense to have consistent success.
“We’re struggling to really make plays in the man down, whether it be knock downs or being a half a second late in our rotations … guys are having hesitation which is all you need in a man-up situation,” Nadelen said.
With less than five minutes remaining, sophomore midfielder Greg Cuccinello found DeNapoli open near the goal.
DeNapoli converted on his opportunity and cut the lead to 12-9.
Towson would fail to score again as the Greyhounds maintained possession for the game’s final minutes.
Justin Ward and Chris Layne added late goals for Loyola on an empty net.
In the Tigers’ past two games, 12 of the team’s 15 goals came in either the second or fourth quarter. The team has scored just one first quarter goal in that span.
Cuccinello finished the game with two goals and an assist.
But he said the team needs to begin each half with more intensity.
“That first goal is huge in the second half and for them to get it tonight put us in a bit of a hole,” Cuccinello said.
The Tigers return to action Sunday as they welcome the Mercer Bears (1-1) to Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The game is scheduled to face off at 1 p.m.