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Back and forth

13 April 2014 By Matt Hamilton, Associate Sports Editor No Comments
Towson clinches CAA playoff berth with OT win
Abby Murphy/ The Towerlight

Abby Murphy/ The Towerlight

Senior Ashleigh Rohrback made the best of her senior day.

The attacker had three goals and two assists, including the game-winning goal in second overtime to give Towson the 12-11 home win over James Madison and clinch a spot for Towson in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

The Tigers (9-6, 4-1 CAA) won the draw control and brought the ball down the field.

Freshman attacker Gabby Cha found Rohrback wide open in front of the net, and she finished to seal the victory.

“I just knew I was open and took my time and took my shot,” Rohrback said of her goal. “We would like to pull [the game] out in [regulation], but it’s awesome to pull it out like that.”

The seeding for the CAA playoffs will be determined next weekend, when the Dukes (8-6, 2-1 CAA) face Drexel, the only CAA team to beat the Tigers.

Head Coach Sonia LaMonica praised her team’s ability to fight through a back-and-forth game.

“We knew that James Madison was going to give a great battle and fight until the very end,” LaMonica said. “I’m really pleased and proud with the effort that our girls showed. In particularly when it counted,
like that last draw control, just finding a way to come up with it and control the game.”

The Dukes got on the board early, as attacker Stephanie Finley beat her defender and found the bottom right corner of the net to put her team up 1-0 just 58 seconds into the game.

The Tigers, however, responded shortly after.

Sophomore midfielder Breanna Hamm tied the game up 17 seconds after the James Madison goal on a free position attempt. Hamm finished with four goals on six shots.

“[Hamm] is always doing so much for us on the field,” LaMonica said. “She’s really an unsung hero. Today, she had four goals so it gets a little more noticed. She has been consistent … and she does so much for us and she had a great game.”

Towson kept the pressure up, leading to a goal by junior midfielder Paige Duncan, as she found a seam in the James Madison defense a shot between the legs of goalie Schylar Healy.

Five minutes later, the Dukes tied the game on another free position attempt.

Attacker Betsy Angel beat Towson senior goalie Kelsey Donnelly to make it 2-2 with 22:12 remaining in the first half.

The back-and-forth game continued, as the team traded goals to push the score to 3-3 with 15:55 left in the half.

Rohrback put the Tigers in front off an assist from senior attacker Andi Raymond, her second of the game.

A few minutes later, midfielder Taylor Gress drove through the middle of the Tigers defense and beat Donnelly to make it 3-3.

Both teams saw chances to score in the next five minutes, but neither could break the tie, until Hamm scored her second goal, to the top left corner, off a service from Rohrback.

The goal was Hamm’s eighth of the season and the assist was Rohrback’s 30th.

Towson took the first two-goal lead of the game just 12 seconds after Hamm’s tally, as redshirt freshman Michelle Gildea received a pass from Rohrback and finished to make it 5-3 on her second career goal.

“Michelle has quietly built and built through this year,” LaMonica said. “Not having experience, sometimes the nerves get to you. But she’s really hungry to be out there. She’s really emerged as somebody whose also got speed breaking into our offensive end, which creates openings.”

James Madison responded with a two-goal run to yet again tie the game.

Angel and Finley combined for the two goals, both within a two-minute span, to even the score at 5-5.

It took just nine seconds for the Tigers to take the lead back, as senior midfielder Katie Leech got a draw control and hit a speedy Gildea, whose hard shot made it 6-5 with 4:17 left in the half.

The Dukes held the advantage in shots (16-13) and draw controls (7-5), but the Tigers took the lead into halftime.

James Madison tied the game for the fifth time coming out of the break.

Midfielder Jaci Gordon scored her 17th goal of the season to move James Madison into a 6-6 tie with 24:54 left.

Rohrback broke a 13-minute scoreless drought for Towson with her 29th goal of the season. She ran in front of goal and beat Healy low to make it 7-6. Raymond followed with her 39th goal less than a minute
later on a free position attempt.

Angel and Finley led the Dukes on another 2-0 run that resulted an 8-8 game with 13:25 left. Both goals came unassisted.

Towson went on another 2-0 streak, with both goals coming from Hamm.

She scored less than two minutes after the Dukes tied the game, and four minutes later grabbed the ball from a scrum in front of the net and score her fourth of the game to make it 10-8.

Towson held possession for much of the next six minutes, but James Madison would not go away.

Abby Murphy/ The Towerlight

Abby Murphy/ The Towerlight

With 1:39 left, the Dukes got possession and midfielder Ali Curwin cut the Tigers lead to 10-9. The Dukes won the next draw and Curwin scored again with 30.1 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

Junior attacker Taylor Moore scored to give Towson an 11-10 lead just two minutes into the first overtime period.

Her shot went low and caught Healy off guard.

James Madison tied the game again with 2:31 left in first overtime. Gress scored her second goal to send it to the second period.

The Dukes had two free position attempts in the last minute of the period, but could not convert. In total, they scored on two of 11 free position attempts.

Rohrback sealed the win with her shot. Despite being outshot 39-26, Towson came away with the win.

Up next for the Tigers are the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels in the regular season finale.

The game will start at 1 p.m. next Saturday from Raleigh, N.C.


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