Towson senior Ryan Drenner made the most of the final 26 seconds of the first half Saturday.
Out of a timeout and with the Tigers trailing Hofstra by one, Drenner moved behind the cage, forcing the Pride's short-stick midfielder Luke Gomez to switch on him. Drenner then dodged back toward the goal and ripped a shot into the left side netting with five seconds to spare before the break.
"That was great being able to execute out of the timeout and get what we really wanted in regards of switching the match up," Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said after the 10-8 victory. "In a game like this that is tightly contested to get that one late in the half to send you into halftime with momentum was awesome."
Towson (4-1 CAA, 8-4 overall) built off the strong finish to the half by scoring four unanswered goals in the third quarter, lifting the Tigers over the Pride at Johnny Unitas Stadium. The win clinched the regular season Colonial Athletic Association title for Towson, which will now host the CAA tournament.
"I am excited for our program and especially for our seniors to finish out the regular season by earning the regular season championship for the CAA. Obviously it was led by a tremendous effort from our seniors and the supporting cast of our team," Nadelen said. "I don't know if that propelled us into the third quarter with that momentum, but I think our guys were excited to execute that and come out with that much more energy in the third quarter."
Drenner's goal may not have given the Tigers the win, but it shifted momentum to them. After dominating time of possession throughout the game, Towson finally broke through with a strong effort in the crucial third quarter.
"Tough one. Congrats to Towson," said Pride coach Seth Teirney. "It got away from us in the third quarter and a couple plays in the second quarter in the end that we didn't make. If we don't go in 4-4, if we go in 4-3 maybe it changes some things."
Dylan Alderman gave Hofstra (3-2 CAA, 11-2 overall) a 1-0 lead with about five minutes left in the first quarter, but Mike Lynch answered for the Tigers less than 30 seconds later.
Brendan Kavanagh and Ryan Tierney opened up the second quarter with consecutive goals to put the Pride back on top, 3-1.
But Towson responded after two straight faceoff wins by Alex Woodall. Joe Seider and Tyler Young were the beneficiaries, scoring 30 seconds apart to tie the game at 3 with 11:04 remaining in the half.
Josh Bryne capitalized off an unforced turnover by the Tigers with nearly 10 minutes left and it looked as though Hofstra would take the goal advantage into the break before Drenner (two goals, three assists) snuck his shot past Jack Concannon (eight saves) to tie the game.
Drenner assisted Young twice and Seider (three goals) once in the third quarter to push the score to 7-4 with 2:15 left. Seider then capped off the 4-0 run after putting away a pass from Tyler Konen with a minute left in the period.
"I think we just got the defense moving," said Young, who finished with four goals to lead the Tigers. "We weren't settling for the first shot, which sometimes we tend to do. We were just being patient with the ball and their defense just kind of opened up and Drenner was just doing a good job of finding the shooters."
Hofstra rallied, but couldn't dig out of the hole in the fourth.
Alderman scored back-to-back goals to start the quarter, cutting the deficit to 8-6. But the Tigers answered shortly after with Woodall winning the ensuing faceoff, which led to a crucial goal by Young to push the cushion to 9-6 with 8:17 to play.
"Huge goal. We needed that," Nadelen said. "And that was a big play by a kid who has done so many different things for us all year."
The Tigers held Hofstra scoreless until Alex Moeser put away a pass from Ryan Tierney with 2:52 remaining.
With home-field advantage through the CAA Tournament, the Tigers will face No. 4 seed Drexel in the first round at 5 p.m. on Thursday. No. 2 seed Hofstra will take on No. 3 UMass at 7:30 p.m.