Towson Knocks off No. 18 Drexel in the CAA Semifinals

The Tigers will face No. 1 Penn State in the 2013 CAA Tournament final on Friday, May 3 at 3:00 p.m.

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (May 1, 2013) Ben McCarty scored a career-high six goals to lead third-seeded Towson to a 11-8 victory over second-seeded Drexel in the CAA semifinals Wednesday at Penn State Lacrosse Field. The Tigers advanced to the CAA title game with a 9-7 overall record, while the Dragons fall to 11-4.

McCarty's six goals led all scorers and doubled his season total. The Tigers' Andrew Hodgson contributed two goals, while Justin Mabus had three assists. Andrew Wascavage made 14 saves for Towson.

For the Dragons, Robert Church led Drexel with five goals and seven points (3 goals, 2 assists). He scored all three of his goals in approximately a span of seven minutes. Drexel's Nick Saputo had an outstanding game on draw, winning 19 of the 22 attempts in the game. Drexel outshot the Tigers, 44-37. Cal Winkelman made seven stops for the Dragons in a losing cause.

Towson's McCarty opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at 11:27 in the first quarter when he beat Drexel's Winkelman top left. Drexel quickly equalized at 10:41 when Ben McIntosh received a feed from behind the goal and snuck a shot past Wascavage high left.

The Tigers then reeled off two quick scores to take a 3-1 lead at 8:26 when DeNapoli notched his 39th of the season at 9:38 and McCarty found the back of the net again at 8:26. Drexel's Hank Brown kept the Dragons in it with a goal at 7:51. Sophomore Rob Zoppo added a goal for Towson at 3:18 off a pass from classmate Cory Dobyns to increase the Tigers' lead to 4-2.

Towson opened the second quarter with an EMO goal from Hodgson, assisted by Mabus, after Drexel was called for delay of game a 30-second penalty. Senior Matt Hughes extended the advantage to 6-2 with his sixth goal of the year at 11:52 when he scored from just outside the crease.

McCarty notched his first career hat trick at 5:38 in the second to give the Tigers a five-goal lead, 7-2, and continued his offensive explosion at 1:14 with an extra-man goal from just outside the crease off a dish from Mabus.

The Tigers kept rolling to start the third quarter. Hodgson took a pass from DeNapoli and fired a shot from distance past Winkelman to put Towson up 9-3 at 12:36. However, Drexel mounted a comeback over the next four minutes. The Dragons' fourth goal came off an odd play. Drexel committed a turnover but the ball was checked out of a Tiger defender's stick and rolled in the goal. It was credited to Church at 11:25. He scored two more times at 8:50 when his bounce shot skidded in and then again six seconds later off a Dragon face-off win.

But McCarty stopped the Dragons' rally with his fifth goal at 8:00 to keep Towson in front, 10-6. The Dragons didn't go away. After Towson was called for off-sides, Chris Frederick caught a pass just outside the crease and scored. McIntosh scored his second at 3:05 in the third on an EMO chance to inch the Dragons to within two, 10-8.

McCarty scored on a man-up opportunity at 10:37 in the fourth off a Mabus pass to give Towson some more breathing room, 11-8. The Tigers held the Dragons scoreless over the last quarter to seal the win.

Towson advances to the title contest and will face top-seeded Penn State, who defeated fourth-seeded Massachusetts, 10-7, in the semifinals. It will be the first time the teams have met in a CAA tournament game. The title game will be played on Friday, May 3 at 3:00 p.m., and the the Tigers are in search for their fourth CAA title, first since 2005, while the top-seeded Nittany Lions look for their first postseason title.

The Tigers advance to the CAA Finals for the first time since 2010 when they defeated UMass in the semifinals before falling to Delaware in the championship game. Friday's game will be Towson's seventh appearance in the CAA Finals. The Tigers have a 3-3 record in those games.

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