No. 20 Towson Downs No. 16 UMass in CAA Semifinal

TOWSON, Md. Freshman attackman Matt Hughes (Central Bucks East H.S./Doylestown, Pa.) matched his season high by scoring three goals and added an assist as 20th-ranked Towson University (7-7) advanced to the Colonial Athletic Association Men's Lacrosse Championship Game with a 13-6 victory over 16th-ranked University of Massachusetts (8-6) at the Tigers' Johnny Unitas Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The top seed in the CAA Tournament, the Tigers will host second-seeded Delaware in the CAA Championship Game on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. The Blue Hens earned a 15-12 victory over third-seeded Drexel to earn a berth in the title game.

"We did a good job defensively and after struggling early, we did some good things on defense," Towson Coach Tony Seaman said. "We got some good contributions from Hughes and Christian [Pastirik] tonight.

"We haven't done anything though," Coach Seaman added. "We did the same exact thing a year ago against Drexel and lost against Villanova in the final. So, Saturday afternoon against Delaware is going to be the key."

The Minutemen opened up a 2-0 lead in the first nine minutes of the opening quarter on back-to-back goals by freshman attackman Will Manny (St. Anthony's H.S./Massapequa, N.Y.) and senior midfielder Bobby Hayes (Southside H.S./Rockville Centre, N.Y.).

But, the Tigers responded by scoring three straight goals, including a pair of Hughes markers, to take a 3-2 lead with 12:46 remaining in the second quarter.

After junior Ryan Liebel (Avon Old Farms H.S./Longmeadow, Mass.) scored to tie the game at 3-3 with an unassisted goal, the Tigers regained the edge with back-to-back goals from senior midfielder Will Harrington (Friends School/Baltimore, Md.) and sophomore midfielder Carl Iacona (Massapequa H.S./Massapequa, N.Y.) and led by 5-3 at the intermission.

Just five seconds into the third quarter, the Minutemen cut the deficit to 5-4 when sophomore attackman Steve D'Amario (Niskayuna H.S./Niskayuna, N.Y.) scored off a feed from sophomore midfielder Anthony Toresco (Hunterdon Central H.S./Flemington, N.J.).

However, the Tigers responded by scoring seven unanswered goals over a 21-minute span to take a commanding 12-4 lead. Graduate student midfielder Christian Pastirik (St. Mary's H.S./Annapolis, Md.) scored all three of his goals during the run while Hughes added a goal with an assist.

With 5:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, sophomore midfielder Greg Rushing (Fossil Ridge H.S./Fort Collins, Colo.) scored to end a nearly 25-minute scoring drought for the Minutemen. The teams traded goals in the final 51 seconds to end the game.

While Lamon recorded his second "hat trick" of the season to lead the Tigers, Pastirik scored three goals for his fifth "hat trick" of the season. Iacona added a pair of goals for the Tigers, who were outshot by a 37-30 margin.

Junior goalkeeper Travis Love (Winters Mill H.S./Westminster, Md.) made 11 saves, including eight in the second half, as the Tiger defense held the Minutemen to just six goals, which matched a season low.

D'Amario led the Minutemen with a goal and an assist while sophomore goalkeeper Tim McCormack (Long Beach H.S./Long Beach, N.Y.) made 12 saves.

The Minutemen have lost four of their last five games after opening the season with a 7-2 record.

The Tigers and the Blue Hens will be meeting for the second time this season when they play on Saturday. Led by three goals and an assist from Pastirik, the Tigers edged Delaware by a 9-7 margin on April 3 at Unitas Stadium.

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