Tigers fall to Cavaliers' controlled offense, 15-10

Towson keeps pressure on but Virginia dominates faceoffs, on-goal shots

March 21, 2010|By Jeff Seidel | Special to The Baltimore Sun

The Towson offense pushed No. 1 Virginia throughout Sunday's game. They scored four goals in the first quarter, saw two players finish with hat tricks and stayed close for long stretches.

But the Virginia offense proved too much for the Tigers to stop. The Cavaliers pressured Towson with accurate shooting and kept possession for long stretches by controlling faceoffs and ground balls, which helped them pull away for a 15-10 victory before 2,477 at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The performance of the Virginia offense left Towson coach Tony Seaman shaking his head afterward. Chris Bocklet led the Cavaliers with four goals, and they put 31 of their 37 shots on goal -- including all 17 in the second half.

In addition, Virginia (8-0) won the game's first seven faceoffs and finished with a 17-10 edge. Brian McDermott won nine of 12 draws as the Tigers couldn't stop him.

"They're No. 1 for a pretty good reason," Seaman said. "They have amazing shooters. The two differences in the game today were shooting and faceoffs. We allowed them to win 17 faceoffs, and you can't win when you do that."

The Cavaliers also held a 48-26 edge on ground balls, limiting Towson's chances to get any kind of possession. Virginia also scored on two of its three extra-man chances, but the Cavaliers stopped the Tigers on five of their six.

Towson (1-4) never even got possession on three of its six extra-man chances.

"Those kind of things kill you," Seaman said.

Still, the Tigers made it a tough day for the Cavaliers, who never had complete control of the game until the fourth quarter. Towson goalie Travis Love was making just his second career start and kept the Tigers close with 16 saves.

Love made seven stops in the third quarter alone, but Virginia kept showing plenty of patience on offense, which eventually helped it find good shots.

"They're just very consistent," Love said. "They don't miss the goal."

Towson didn't miss much in the first quarter, taking a 4-2 lead despite losing all seven of that period's faceoffs. The Cavaliers helped the Tigers with eight turnovers in the period as the Tigers scored three in a row for the two-goal lead.

"I thought we did a couple of bonehead things on defense [early]," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia. "I thought Towson came out and took the play to us early in the game."

Christian Pastirik (three goals, two assists) and Matt Hughes (three goals) each scored for Towson in the first quarter. But Virginia settled down and quickly took command in the second quarter. The Cavaliers scored three goals in the first 2:59, five in a row and six in the period en route to an 8-6 halftime lead.

Towson cut the lead to 8-7 early in the third period when Stephen Norris took a quick pass from Brock Armour behind the cage and beat goalie Adam Ghitelman from in front. But Virginia then scored five of the next six goals for a 13-8 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers had good scoring chances throughout the game but often misfired. Only 19 of their 34 shots were on goal, helping Virginia stay in front for most of the game. Brian Carroll (Gilman) helped the Cavaliers with two goals and two assists while Steele Stanwick (Loyola) also added two goals, but Towson kept battling throughout.

"I think we fought toe-to-toe with those guys," Pastirik said.

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