Mids Drop One-Goal Decision as Towson Scores Final Three

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Towson held the Midshipmen without a goal over the final 22 minutes of play, while the Tigers scored the final three goals of the game to earn an 8-7 victory over Navy Tuesday evening at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It was Navy's third one-goal loss of the season, as the Mids dropped to 3-4 on the year and Towson moved to 3-4.

"This was another tough, hard-fought game," said Navy head coach Rick Sowell. "Tonight the credit goes to Towson's defense, especially the play of their goalkeeper.

"There's not a lack of effort on the part of our players. We just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. We're battling and I think we are close. Hopefully the tide will turn where we can win our fair share of these close games."

Navy took control of the game early, jumping out to a 3-0 decision after the first quarter of play which featured goals by three different players.

Towson finally got on the board at the 10:38 mark in the second quarter when Cory Dobyns and Rob Zoppo teamed up following an offside call on the Midshipmen for what would be the first of five goals in the quarter.

Navy answered with 5:49 to go in the half when attackman Tucker Hull (Jr./Charlotte, N.C.) found classmate Austin Heneveld (Jr./East Hampton, N.Y.), who had to make a tough underhanded left-hand shot on the crease to give the Mids a 4-1 lead.

The Tigers answered just over a minute later when leading scorer Thomas DeNapoli beat Navy defenseman Nik Mullen (Jr./Wading River, N.Y.) and stuck his low-to-high shot past Navy keeper Nolan Hickey (Sr./Garden City, N.Y.). The goal sparked a three-goal run by Towson that covered a minute and 33 seconds and was capped by a rocket lefty shot by junior midfielder Andrew Hodgson with 2:52 to go knot the game at 4-4.

The tie was short-lived, however, as junior Pat Durkin placed his 8-yard shot inside the near post just 27 seconds after Hodgson's goal.

Towson held for what would be the final shot in the half as Dobyns drew a double team running down the right side and found a wide open Zoppo at the crease who stuck the game-tying goal with 16.3 seconds left in the opening half.

Navy looked poised to start the third quarter and punched in back-to-back goals to take a 7-5 advantage. Starting midfielder Bryce Dabbs (Sr./Damascus, Md.) bounced in a long-range shot on the run less than two minutes into the second half, while attackman Sam Jones (Jr./Annapolis, Md.) sent his pass across the field to Hull who punched in his ninth goal of the year.

Hull's goal at 7:17 in the third would be the last for the Mids despite getting off 18 shots in the third and fourth quarters combined.

Towson, meanwhile, inched its way back into the game with solid goalkeeping play by senior Andrew Wascavage and good decision making on the part of its offense.

A slash by Navy close defenseman Austin Miller (Sr./North Bethesda, Md.) would prove costly for the Mids, as Dobyns found Hodgson for the extra-man goal as time expired at 4:10 in the third to trim Navy's lead to one at 7-6.

Towson knotted the game at 7-7 when senior midfielder Neil Hutchinson found attackman Devin Grimaldi for an ankle biter from the left side less than three minutes into the final quarter of play. Sophomore midfielder Greg Cuccinello gave Towson its first and only lead in the game when he slipped short stick defensive midfielder Jay Mann (Sr./Cockeysville, Md.) and tip-toed his way across the crease for the game-winner with 10:28 remaining.

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