No. 12 nationally ranked, No. 1 seeded Towson claims 9-4 win over Minutemen
2017 CAA Championship Game
No. 12 Towson 9, Massachusetts 4
Records: Massachusetts (7-8) • No. 12 Towson (10-4)
Location: Johnny Unitas Stadium; Towson, Md.
- Grant Consoletti led the offense with three points on two goals and an assist.
- Noah Rak finished 8-of-16 on faceoffs with five groundballs.
- Rak’s 148 faceoff wins this season mark the most in one year since Joe Calvello had 184 on 315 taken (.582) during the 2013 season. Rak averaged 12.3 faceoff victories per game on the season and ended his 12 appearances at 148-of-244 (.607).
- Dan Muller scored twice and grabbed two groundballs. He finished the two-game tournament with seven points via six goals and an assist and led the team with 37 points on 23 goals and 14 assists. All three went as career highs for the redshirt senior.
- Gianni Bianchin and Ben Spencer accounted for the remaining two points by the Minutemen as each had one assist.
- Close defenseman Isaac Paparo tallied four groundballs and a pair of caused turnovers. He finished the tournament with eight groundballs and six caused turnovers.
- D.J. Smith made 11 saves in the game and held Towson scoreless for an 18-minute, 44-second stretch spanning the first and second quarters.
- Muller, Paparo and Rak were tabbed to the 2017 CAA All-Championship Team for their efforts.
- UMass ended the season 7-8 overall. The Minutemen started 0-4 on the year before winning seven of their final 11 games, including key victories over No. 15 Yale in the regular season and No. 14 Hofstra during the CAA Championship Semifinal Round.
Massachusetts and Towson traded early scores before the Tigers put in three consecutive for a 4-1 advantage after one quarter of play.
Tyler Young scored first at the 13-minute, 10-second mark when the senior Tiger scooped up a groundball and put in a rebound shot after Ryan Drenner banged the initial attempt off the crossbar. However, it only took 60 seconds for UMass to answer following a Noah Rak faceoff win. Towson’s Sid Ewell was called for a one-minute penalty on a slash and Grant Consoletti made the extra-man opportunity count with his 10th goal of the season.
The Minuteman offense went dormant over the next 22 minutes, during which Towson put in three goals – one each from Zach Goodrich, Joe Seider and Mike Lynch – for their three-goal lead at the first break.
Dan Muller, the late-game hero of Thursday’s semifinal win over No. 14 Hofstra, made it 4-2 with his first goal of the contest at the 5:47 mark, which cut the deficit to 4-2. Ben Spencer found Muller for a hands-free attempt from 10 yards away during a man-advantage, the second man-up goal of the afternoon for Massachusetts.
Spurred on by the play of goalie D.J. Smith, who stopped four consecutive on-target Towson attempts, the defense played with renewed energy in the second quarter and held the Tigers scoreless until Drenner potted an unassisted goal with the 30-second shot clock running at the 1:19 mark of the frame.
Massachusetts had the last look in the half after Rak won his fifth faceoff in eight tries against Alex Woodall. Spencer backed toward the goal with time winding down on the Johnny Unitas Stadium scoreboard, turned over his left shoulder and fired a right-handed shot on-cage. Towson goalie Matt Hoy blocked Spencer’s blast in front to keep the score 5-2 in favor of Towson at the break.
Another Rak faceoff win sprung Massachusetts’ third scoring possession of the game as the Minutemen needed 96 seconds of the third for the goal. Play found its way to Consoletti at X, where the senior attackman dished over the left post to a waiting Muller for Muller’s second tally of the game.
Neither team scored again until the final minute of the stanza. With the 30-second shot clock on, Lynch converted on a pass by Tyler Konen as Towson built its lead back to three goals. The Tigers looked to add to their advantage as time expired, but D.J. Smith turned aside Goodrich’s attempt for the senior goalie’s eighth save of the contest.
The Tigers bumped their lead to 8-3 midway through the final frame. Woodall accounted for the first when he won the quarter’s opening faceoff and raced toward the goal for a shot that eluded Smith in net. The second Towson goal is credited as a UMass team goal as a Massachusetts defensive player inadvertently sent the ball into the cage while being checked in the back and side during a behind-the-crease pass attempt to Smith.
Drenner padded the lead to 9-4 in the final minute before Consoletti put one in for the final score.