Towson came into Wednesday night’s showdown with a steely focus and revenge in their eyes as they looked to takedown the same Loyola (MD) team that knocked them out in the quarterfinals of last year’s NCAA Tournament.
As 1,366 fans settled into their seats, ominous dark clouds narrowly avoided Johnny Unitas Stadium. Although the thunderstorms passed, the wind blew in another familiar foe. The Loyola Greyhounds made the short trip down the Charles Street corridor in hopes of spoiling Towson’s home-opener. Loyola (MD) crushed Towson’s National Championship hopes in a tightly contested bout last May. Expectations remain high for both teams this season.
Towson set the tone early when senior midfielder Mike Lynch scored an unassisted goal less than two minutes into the game. After a quick start, the Tigers looked to take control of the game. Towson’s inability to hold onto possession against Loyola (MD) last year cost them their season.
“When the two teams met in the quarterfinals last year, Loyola dominated the face-offs,” Towson play-by-play announcer Spiro Morekas said.
However, with the help of Alex Woodall – a transfer face-off specialist from Highpoint University – Towson looked to control the tempo of the game.
“In the Tigers opener against Mount St. Mary’s, they had a transfer face-off man in Alex Woodall,” Morekas said. Woodall won 13 out of 25 face-offs which allowed Towson to dominate time of possession.”
Woodall won six out of ten face-offs in the first half, but that did little to stop the Loyola (MD) offense. After Towson’s initial goal, Loyola (MD) rattled off four quick strikes before Lynch could halt their run with his second goal of the night. Two more Loyola shots found the back of the net before the first half ended. The Greyhounds’ accuracy contributed to their four-goal lead at half time. Of the Greyhounds’ nine first half shots, six found the back of the net.
The Greyhounds drained what little energy was left in the stadium after halftime. Alex McGovern took advantage of a Towson penalty to score his sixth goal of the season – making the score 7-2.
“This is not what I expected,” Towson student Sierra Egan said. “It’s pretty disappointing. I thought we would play better.”
Halfway through the third period, Towson senior attackman Ryan Drenner kick started the Towson offense. Drenner scored two goals in less than three minutes.
“I think in that second half we were a little hungrier,” Drenner said. “Being held to two goals in a whole half with the talent we have on offense isn’t acceptable by our standards.”
However, Loyola (MD) immediately answered Drenner’s goals with two goals of their own. Towson added one more goal by Zach Goodrich before the third period concluded with a score of 9-5.
The fourth period started with a flurry of goals from Towson’s Tyler Konen. The chance for a comeback win and vengeance sat right in front of the Tigers. With three and a half minutes on the clock, Towson found themselves only down two goals. However, by committing crucial turnovers, the Tigers squandered away their scoring opportunities. Towson committed a game-high six turnovers in the fourth period, and once again Loyola responded. Jordan Germershausen of the Greyhounds put Towson to bed in the final two minutes with two quick goals of his own.
Loyola (MD) handed Towson their first loss of the season with a final score of 11-7. Although Towson came up short on Wednesday night, expectations remain high for the rest of the season. Towson’s next home game is against Johns Hopkins – another local rival – on March 11.