Sarah Hogan has scored other goals for Towson, but it's doubtful any have been more important or timely than against visiting James Madison on Sunday. The junior scored with 26 seconds left in double overtime to give the No. 17 Tigers a 10-9 win and the regular-season Colonial Athletic Association championship.
Both teams entered the game with unblemished conference records, and both knew it was winner take all for the title.
"I saw that Kelly [Custer] was being doubled and had nowhere to go, and she did a great job of getting me the ball," said Hogan, who fired a bullet past James Madison's Schylar Healy for the game winner.
Towson will be the top seed in the CAA tournament. The Tigers will host Drexel on Friday at noon, while the second-seeded Dukes will host Hofstra, also at Towson, at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
The Tigers, as they have all year, had trouble with draw controls. Even though they lost that battle Sunday (14-7), the Tigers came up with two crucial wins when it counted late in the game.
Towson looked to be in control of the game in the middle of the second half. The Tigers took an 8-5 lead when Waldron took a pass from Andi Raymond in front of the net and beat Healy with 12:52 remaining.
But the Dukes refused to quit. Madison got goals from Amy Roguski (with 12:36 left), Steph Finley (with 9:45 left) and Zabel (with 9:07 left) to tie the game. The Dukes controlled much of the rest of the play, but key saves by Towson keeper Mary Teeters (Centennial) kept the Tigers in the game.
Towson fell behind in the first overtime, when Madison's Ashley Kimener scored three minutes into the extra period. Luckily for the Tigers, Custer won the draw after the goal, giving Towson another chance. Custer made the most of the opportunity, scoring with 2:10 remaining to record her fourth straight hat trick.
The teams moved on to the second overtime, which was sudden death. Hogan made a huge play to start that period, picking a ball out of the air to win the draw for the Tigers. The Tigers held the ball waiting for a good shot, and finally got one when Custer set up Hogan for the game winner.
"Teams that handle pressure the best generally tend to win games like this," said Towson coach Sonia LaMonica. "I thought we showed great composure and we remained mentally strong even after getting behind.
LaMonica said that Towson is excited to host the conference tournament again this season.
"We are building a great tradition here, and I had great expectations for this team," LaMonica said. "I knew we could [repeat as conference champions], and I think we are peaking at the right time. To be back hosting the championship is a wonderful feeling for us."