Seider & Drenner combine for eight points; Matt Hoy makes 12 saves as Towson heads to the Final Four for the first time since 2001.
Sunday afternoon the Towson Tigers (12-4) defeated the Syracuse Orangemen (13-3) 10-7 in the quarterfinals of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships at the Bob Carpenter Complex at the University of Delaware.
By the time the first quarter was over, the Tigers had built a six goal lead and held Syracuse without a goal. Joe Seider picked up a hat trick and Ryan Drenner pitched in with four assists.
Syracuse would finally get on the board with 12:17 left in the half, and score their second goal with just under five minutes left. That’s where the mini-run would end. Towson would score twice in 71 seconds and take a six goal lead into the half 8-2.
Towson goalie Matt Hoy didn’t relax one bit at the half.
“Guys were yelling at each that they don’t hand out trophies at halftime,” Hoy said. “I was paranoid at the half and trying to keep the defense mentally engaged. We couldn’t let up because they could hit the switch at any time and make that run.” Hoy knew about Syracuse’s comebacks during the 2017 season – nine of their 13 wins were by a goal. The Tigers never allowed the Orange to get close to hitting that switch.
Syracuse head coach John Desko said post-game that “when they are on together, they have the best middies in the country. When we did have some cracks we didn’t break through. We could have had better placement on some of those shots, but their goalie stepped up. I think it was more of him (Hoy) and like to give him credit.”
As the second half started, the Towson defense just got stronger. Syracuse was putting pressure on the defense and could only manage one goal. Towson matched that marker with a goal of their own and kept the six goal lead they had at the half.
In the final quarter it looked as though the Orangemen would make another comeback: Brendan Bomberry scored 44 seconds into the quarter. Towson would come back a minute later to stop any chance of a run as Syracuse was putting on the pressure.
Nate Solomon scored twice for Syracuse in 23 seconds to cut the lead to four, the closest they been since the first half. Rumblings started going through the Carpenter Center; fans started to wonder if this would be another comeback.
However, that was not be in the cards. Matt Hoy and the Tiger defense held strong for the next 12 minutes. Solomon would net the final goal with 42 seconds to go and Towson would start to celebrate their first trip to the Final Four since 2001.
Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen had the defense on lock. They kept the Syracuse offense to the outside, and when they did find a seam, the defense was quick to close up any open alley.
“This is a tribute to their work ethic,” Nadelen said of his players. “We’ve talked about it before, but that’s just talk. There was a learning curve but they have done a good job of embracing it. I couldn’t be more proud of our team for what we accomplished today and throughout the season.”
Towson will face Ohio State on Saturday at 12 p.m. These teams faced each other during the regular season at Towson with the Tigers falling 6-3 back on March 15.
“We need to play as best we can as a team,” Nadelen said on the upcoming match up. “We need to win face-offs, play disciplined. “They have depth at midfield and attack. It will take a total team effort to play good team defense.”
The winner will face the winner of Denver/Maryland on Championship Monday. Denver defeated Maryland 10-5 for the championship in Philadelphia in 2015. Maryland team is on a mission. They embarrassed Albany 18-9 in their quarterfinal match up.
When asked of a possible all-Maryland championship match up, Nadelen said with a smile, “we need to get past Saturday first.”