Wildcats Fall to Towson in CAA Semifinal Game, 5-4
May 4, 2005
TOWSON, Md. - In a rematch of last season's CAA title game, No. 2 seed Towson (10-4) produced a similar result, defeating No. 3 seed Villanova (7-8) 5-4 on Wednesday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium to get back to the league championship game for the third straight year.
The Wildcats trailed 5-3 after the Tigers scored a goal just 50 seconds into the fourth quarter, but freshman attack Chris MacDonald (Westfield, N.J.) scored on a pass from junior midfielder Matt Starker (Summit, N.J.) with 4:33 remaining to get Villanova to within 5-4.
The Wildcats then controlled the ensuing face-off, as sophomore Chris Colliniates (Atlantic Beach, N.Y.) came up with a ground ball to give Villanova possession. Starker had a shot with 3:18 remaining that could have tied the game, but Towson goalie Reed Sothoron made one of his 12 saves to preserve the lead. Each team had possession of the ball twice in the closing minutes, but the Wildcats were held without a shot after Starker's attempt to tie the score.
The game was evenly played throughout, although the Tigers never trailed. Towson scored two goals in the first period to take a 2-0 lead, but Starker got Villanova on the board with the first of his two goals at the 3:27 mark of the quarter. Freshman attack Tim Atkins (West Chester, Pa.) added a goal with 4:48 remaining in the second quarter, and the teams went into halftime with the game tied 2-2.
The Tigers continued to pressure the Wildcats in the second half, and scored a goal in the first minute of both the third and fourth quarters. A goal just 57 seconds after the intermission gave Towson a 3-2 lead, but Villanova once again tied it, as Starker scored a man-up goal on a pass from senior Chris Kramer (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) with 10:31 left in the period.
The score didn't stay tied for long, as the Tigers took the lead for good with 8:03 remaining when Jonathan Engelke scored his only goal of the game. Towson added its final goal at the 14:10 mark of the fourth quarter to establish a 5-3 lead, and then held on to earn the win for the rest of the quarter.
Starker scored his team-leading 24th and 25th goals to lead the Wildcats, while MacDonald scored his seventh goal and Atkins his fourth. Atkins took a pass from sophomore midfielder Mike Haas (North Wales, Pa.) in the second quarter and tied the game for the first time.
Villanova outshot the Tigers 36-35, and junior goalie Joe Canuso (Moorestown, N.J.) had 12 saves while going the distance in goal. However, despite holding Towson more than three goals below its season average, the Wildcats could not find a way to get their first-ever victory against the Tigers.
Bobby Griebe scored two goals and Oliver Bacon added two assists in the game for Towson, which will meet No. 1 seed Delaware in the title game on Saturday night. The Blue Hens advanced to the championship with an 8-5 victory over No. 4 seed Hofstra earlier in the evening.
Villanova concludes its season with a 7-8 overall record. After going 3-2 in regular season conference games, the Wildcats earned the No. 3 seed in the league's postseason tournament. The loss marked the final game for seven Wildcat seniors, who each played a part in bringing the program to new heights during their careers on the Main Line. The senior class winds up with a 35-24 (.593) record. Among the highlights of their careers were a school-record 12 victories in 2004. The 35 wins are the most in any four-year period in team history.
NOTES: The 2005 Wildcat senior class includes goalies Francis Cattani (Yardley, Pa.) and Dan Biser (Baltimore, Md.), attackman Marc Creegan (West Babylon, N.Y.), midfielders Dan Fanelli (Wantagh, N.Y.) and Chris Kramer (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) and defenders Jon Urbana (Denver, Colo.) and Garrett Wells (Severna Park, Md.) ... Villanova is 0-14 all-time against Towson ... The last two games in the series have each been decided by one goal ... The Tigers claimed a 10-9 victory in four overtimes at Villanova Stadium earlier this season ... Engelke scored the game-winner in that game as well ... Last season, No. 1 seed Towson defeated No. 2 seed Villanova 12-7 in the CAA title game.