Sothoron, Towson top Hofstra

His 12 saves, Eckerl's play propel No. 13 Tigers, 10-6

April 24, 2005|By David Selig | David Selig,SUN STAFF

The Towson men's lacrosse team had control of the entire Colonial Athletic Association tournament seedings last night. Senior goalkeeper Reed Sothoron and sophomore midfielder Matt Eckerl made sure the team stayed in control of the game.

Sothoron made 12 saves and Eckerl won 17 of the game's 20 faceoffs, as the No. 13 Tigers (9-3, 4-1 CAA) defeated No. 18 Hofstra, 10-6, before 1,018 at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

With the win, Towson clinched the second seed, and the Tigers will host Villanova on May 4 in the CAA semifinals.

The Tigers had fewer clears and ground balls than the Pride (6-7, 3-2) and had 21 turnovers, but had enough possessions to be successful.

"The great part of the whole game is that we keep getting the ball back," Tigers coach Tony Seaman said. "Matt Eckerl wins faceoff after faceoff after faceoff. If you keep getting the ball, you can get some momentum, and that's what happened in the second half."

The Tigers scored twice within a minute two times in the third period to build a three-goal advantage entering the fourth.

When Eckerl and the Tigers could not keep the ball, Sothoron kept the Pride from getting back into the game.

After Hofstra cut the Tigers' lead to 6-4 with 9:51 remaining in the second quarter, Joe Mascaretti won his team's second faceoff. But Sothoron's stick save on the ensuing possesion prevented Pride momentum.

Sothoron also made three acrobatic saves against attackmen with open looks.

"It gets me going if I get some good one-on-one saves in the beginning," Sothoron said. "I hope I have some more in bigger games."

Sophomore midfielder Keith Obloj -- who is from Farmingdale, N.Y., and knew many of the Pride players from high school -- had a goal and three assists for the Tigers.

"He's always steady and he never does anything wrong, but we were just waiting for him to break out," Seaman said.

Obloj said the chance to host a semifinal game was more motivation to him than facing some of his high school friends. "We love playing here," he said. "It's a hard place to play."

The final minutes of each of the first three quarters were crucial to Towson. Attackman Bobby Griebe scored with six seconds remaining in the first, and midfielders Todd MacMullan and Kevin Rutledge each scored in the final 30 seconds of the third. Sothoron ended the second period with a save.

The loss knocked Hofstra from first to fourth in the standings. They will visit top seed Delaware in the other semifinal.

The two-time, defending CAA champion Tigers can earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by winning the conference playoffs.

But Seaman would rather punch his ticket next Saturday in the regular-season finale by beating Johns Hopkins -- the team he coached from 1991 to 1998.

"It would be nice to beat the No. 1 team in the country, and I don't particularly like them anyway," he said.

Hofstra 2 1 2 1 -- 6

Towson 3 1 4 2 -- 10

Goals: H--Ianucci 2, Bonaguro, Treubig, Lucas, Vilar; T--Griebe 2, Obloj, Williams, Engelke, Macmullan, Vetter, Fiat, Batton, Rutledge. Assists: H--M. Unterstein 3, Brewer 2, C. Unterstein; T--Obloj 3, Bacon 2, Mull. Saves: H--Tuohy 9, Southard 2; T--Sothoron 12.

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