No. 18 Towson surges past High Point to advance in NCAA Tournament
TOWSON, Md. -- Down 5-0 in the first quarter, No. 18 Towson fought and clawed its way back into the game, eventually surging past visiting High Point thanks to an 8-0 Tiger run. Towson won its first NCAA Tournament game since 2003 as the Tigers claimed a 10-8 First Four victory against the Panthers.
Towson (12-5) heads to South Bend, Ind. for a Saturday showdown with top-seeded Notre Dame. Game time is set for 5 p.m. (EDT) at Arlotta Stadium. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Tigers and the Fighting Irish.
The eight-goal run was Towson's longest this season, lifting the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) champion Tigers to their most wins since the 2001 season when Towson reached the national semifinals with a 14-4 record.
During the run, seven different Tigers scored the eight goals, with Mike Lynch notching his two in the middle of the run. Max Siskind played his final game at Johnny Unitas Stadium and finished with style, scoring a hat trick. Towson's leading goal scorer Joe Seider struck once while taking six shots. Seider is now Towson's record holder for single season shots with 130. Ben McCarty scored once, as did Greg Cuccinello, Justin Mabus and close defenseman JoJo Ostrander, who capitalized on a High Point 10-man ride, leaving the goal open. Mabus had two assists, while Cuccinello, Seider and Tyler Konen had one helper apiece.
Tying a career-best effort at the faceoff X, sophomore Alec Burckley won 15 of his 22 draws while collecting a career-high 12 groundballs. He is the first Tiger to snare that many loose balls since Ian Mills had12 against Delaware on March 24, 2012.
Southern Conference champion High Point (10-7) was paced by a hat trick from Sean Harrison while Matt Thistle scored twice. Michael Leclair, T Moyer and Brad James struck once each. Leading goal scorer Dan Lomas, who had 43 goals entering the game, was held off the board, despite four shots. Leclair and Thistle had one helper each. High Point was held off the board on two extra-man chances, challenged by a Towson man-down unit that ranks 10th nationally.
Towson's second-ranked defense held its 15th opponent to single digits, thanks to nine saves from redshirt junior keeper Tyler White, who backed a defense that caused five turnovers. White overcame a slow start after allowing five goals in the first 11 minutes of the game, one of which was just seven seconds in.
Ranking in the top five in active career saves, High Point's keeper Austin Geisler stopped 13 Tiger attempts, including nine in the first half.
Uncharacteristically of the 2015 Tigers, Towson committed 14 turnovers, four above its NCAA-leading average of 10.13. The Tigers had a tough day clearing, gaining the zone on nine of 13 attempts. However, thanks to Burckley's play at the X, Towson out-groundballed High Point 37-20, grabbing double-digit grounders in each of the first three quarters.