No. 14 Towson Takes One-Goal Decision from Penn State

TOWSON, Md. – Junior attackman Tim Stratton (Manheim Township H.S./Lititz, Pa.) scored two goals and added two assists as 14th-ranked Towson University (6-5, 4-0) won its fifth straight game, a 10-9 Colonial Athletic Association victory over Penn State University (2-10, 1-3) at the Tigers' Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the Tigers secured the CAA's regular season title and the top seed in the CAA Tournament, which begins on May 5 at the sites of the top two seeds.

“Our guys just don't quit and we just hang in there,” Towson Coach Tony Seaman said. “Penn State is as good of a team as we have played all year. They have some guys who can go to the goal and shoot the ball.

“We played a lot of defense today and Penn State took a lot of shots on us,” Coach Seaman added. “Penn State is a smart team and has a lot of good athletes.”

Led by a goal and an assist from sophomore Carl Iacona (Massapequa H.S./Massapequa, N.Y.), the Tigers built a 4-1 lead in the first 16 minutes of the game.

After the teams traded goals, the Nittany Lions narrowed the margin to 5-4 with back-to-back goals in a two-minute span. Sophomore attackman Matthew Mackrides (Malvern Prep/Newtown Square, Pa.) scored off an assist from senior defenseman Earl Ross (Middlebury Union H.S./Shoreham, Vt.) to cut the deficit to 5-3. Freshman Nick Dolik (Brother Rice H.S./Bloomfield Mills, Mich.) followed with his second goal of the game, an unassisted marker past junior goalkeeper Travis Love (Winters Mill H.S./Westminster, Md.) with 7:47 remaining in the first half.

But, the Tigers answered with a two-goal spurt of their own to rebuild their three-goal advantage. Freshman attackman Matt Hughes (Central Bucks East H.S./Doylestown, Pa.) scored off a feed from junior midfielder Peter Mezzanotte (West Islip H.S./West Islip, N.Y.) to give Towson a 6-4 lead. Then, Stratton scored his first goal of the game, an unassisted marker with 4:11 left in the period.

However, the Nittany Lions had a chance to cut the margin in the closing seconds of the first half as freshman attackman Billy Gribbin (Georgetown Prep/Rockville, Md.) scored with one second remaining off a pass from junior midfielder Colton Vosburgh (Unionville H.S./Kennett Square, Pa.).

After the teams exchanged goals in the late stages of the third quarter, Stratton gave Towson a 9-6 lead when he scored off a pass from graduate student midfielder Christian Pastirik (St. Mary's H.S./Annapolis, Md.) with 1:14 left in the stanza.

But, Penn State rallied and scored three straight goals to tie the game at 9-9 with 8:57 remaining in regulation. Mackrides converted a feed from Gribbin with 10:44 left in the fourth quarter before Gribbin scored off a Mackrides pass to close the gap to 9-8. With 8:57 left in the fourth quarter, Dolik tallied an unassisted goal past Love to tie the score at 9-9.

The Tigers regained the advantage just 56 seconds later when Pastirik scored off a feed from senior midfielder Will Harrington (Friends School/Baltimore, Md.). Led by Love, the Tiger defense limited the Nittany Lions to just one shot over the final six minutes.

With 44 seconds remaining, Penn State forced a Towson turnover and had possession in the offensive end of the field. But, with 31 seconds remaining, Mezzanotte caused a turnover by freshman midfielder Kyle VanThof (Penfield H.S./Penfield, N.Y.) and helped the Tigers clear the ball into the offensive end to run out the clock.

“Peter Mezzanotte made a great play at the end of the game and not only did he take the ball away, but he also cleared the ball for us,” Coach Seaman said. “He's been unbelievable for us this year and leads the team in takeaways. He just comes through for us in crucial situations.”

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2010-04-24



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