Denver's Dylan Johnson defends Towson's Joe Seider during the first half of an NCAA lacrosse tournament game on Sunday, May 15, 2016.
Denver's Dylan Johnson defends Towson's Joe Seider during the first half of an NCAA lacrosse tournament game on Sunday, May 15, 2016. (AAron Ontiveroz / HANDOUT)

One year after nearly upsetting the top seed in the NCAA tournament, the Towson men's lacrosse team left no doubt of its bona fides Sunday at Denver.

The Tigers shocked the second-seeded Pioneers, 10-9, never trailing the defending national champions as they advanced to their first quarterfinal appearance since 2003.


Towson (16-2), which last season lost to No. 1 seed Notre Dame, 12-10, in the first round, will host No. 7 seed Loyola Maryland in Columbus, Ohio, next Sunday. The Greyhounds lost at home in the teams' first meeting, 10-8, in early March.

Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said last year's loss to Notre Dame laid the seeds for the big performance Sunday.

"We've been in that position before," Nadelen said. "You look at last year [against Notre Dame], and these guys, I don't want to say they had a bad taste in their mouth, but allowing that game to slip away, we didn't want to allow ourselves to have that happen again. In that game, we were beating ourselves, and we didn't want that to happen again.

Tigers goalkeeper Tyler White made 13 saves, but Denver rallied from a 10-7 deficit with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter. With 13.3 seconds left, the Pioneers (13-3) won the final faceoff but could not get off a shot.

"It was extremely hectic in regards to clamp down, grind, fight, scratch, claw, tackle if you had to," Nadelen said. "We were willing to do whatever we needed to within the confines of the game of lacrosse to not allow them to get their hands free for a shot. We just tried to stop that last-ditch effort."

That Towson won despite losing 20 of 22 total faceoffs is stunning. But when the Tigers did get the ball, they were careful with it. Towson committed just seven turnovers to Denver's 14.

"The crazy thing is, we've had to play that way in years past," Nadelen said. "In 2013, during the CAA tournament, in two games, we won three total faceoffs and we ended up winning both games. Fortunately, our guys offensively took care of the ball."

Attackman Spencer Parks (St. Paul's) had a game-high four goals and two assists for Towson. Midfielder Zach Miller had three goals and two assists for Denver.

"Spencer did a great job of finding some seams, and he shot the ball well," Nadelen said. "He had a great hammer in the fourth quarter that helped us extend the lead and get a little bit of that cushion back. He showed up today and played a really strong game."


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