Towson University lacrosse earned a pair of Colonial Athletic Association championships this weekend.
For the women’s team, it was a defense of their title, claiming their second consecutive league championship. For the men’s team, it required an upset victory against No. 9 Penn State to achieve their first conference crown since 2005.
The tournament wins earn each team a trip to the NCAA Tournament to compete for the national championship. The women’s team plays Stony Brook on Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m. in College Park, Md. The men’s team plays third-seeded Ohio State on Sunday, May 12 at 3 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio.
The men’s team began the winning weekend Friday afternoon in University Park, Pa., against the favored Penn State Nittany Lions. The Tigers had fallen to Penn State earlier this year, 10-8, never getting closer than two goals in the second half. This time, though, it was Towson that staked itself to an 8-6 advantage at the end of the third quarter and fended off a rally from the home team.
Penn State outscored Towson 4-3 in the fourth quarter, but was unable to tie the game. Towson goalkeeper Andrew Wascavage was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, making 12 saves in the championship game. Greg Cuccinello led the Tigers offensively with three goals in the 11-10 victory.
The championship was the fourth in program history and the first for head coach Shawn Nadelen.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to be in the NCAA Tournament,” Nadelen says. “Ohio State is a team that we haven’t played in a while, and I’m looking forward to preparing for them. They have had a great season. It’s going to be a challenge.”
The women’s team closed out their second consecutive CAA championship Sunday afternoon against Hofstra. Towson led 4-3 at halftime and the Pride tied the score early in the second half. Less than two minutes later, Rhiannon Coogle picked up a ground ball and scored to give the Tigers a lead.
Towson scored the next four goals, shutting out Hofstra for the rest of the game on their way to a decisive 9-4 victory. The Tigers’ Kaitlin Sheridan was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, leading the Towson defense.
Head coach Sonia LaMonica, who was recently honored as the CAA Coach of the Year, was proud of the way her team closed out the tournament victory.
“A fantastic performance from our team today and they played great lacrosse and really played as a unit,” LaMonica says. “We said at the beginning of the year we wanted to compete in each game and we really did that today.”