Senior attackman Spencer Parks scored two of his team's four straight second-half goals as the host Towson men's lacrosse team defeated Fairfield, 4-2, to win the Colonial Athletic Association championship Saturday before an announced crowd of nearly 1,000.
The Tigers (14-2) captured the automatic berth to the 18-team NCAA Division I tournament with the title, and Towson has won six CAA tournament championships, including two in a row under fifth-year coach Shawn Nadelen.
"What our selection committee is going to do, I don't know," said Nadelen. "This is one of the craziest years I have ever seen as far as wins, losses and upsets. But I am excited for us because we punched our own ticket, we controlled our own destiny."
The game was in stark contrast to the one played on April 23 when the Tigers beat the Stags, 18-11. This time Fairfield controlled Towson's midfielders on the outside, and shut down cuts around the crease. The Tigers were held scoreless in the first half for the first time in two years.
But Parks (St. Paul's) scored on a hard, underhand shot from the right of the goal from seven yards out with 1:40 left in the third quarter to put the Tigers up 3-2.
His second goal came as he started behind the net and then got a shot past goalie Tyler Behring with 6:10 remaining for a 4-2 lead. In a low-scoring game in which the goalies dominated the second half, that was enough.
"They definitely improved from two weeks ago, they were a different team," Parks said. "They played well on defense and compounded with our own offensive mistakes, it turned into a tight game. But in the second half, we started clicking."
Fairfield outshot Towson 23-12 in the first half but only held a 2-0 lead at the end of two quarters. Both of the Stags' goals came in the second quarter as senior midfielder Charlie Schnider scored with 13:11 left and sophomore attackman Charlie Horning scored off a feed from fellow attackman Colin Burke with 7:24 to go.
"We didn't think this game was even close to being over," Towson senior defenseman Mike Lowe said about the first half. "[Goalie] Tyler [White] was playing great and we were making smart decisions on the clears. We just had to get the ball [to the] offense so they could make something happen, and they did."
Junior midfielder Tyler Konen scored on a low shot off an extra-man situation for the Tigers' first goal of the game with 13:52 left in the third quarter and junior attackman Joe Seider (Hereford) scored off an assist from attackman Ryan Drenner (Westminster) nearly 10 minutes later.
"We came out in the second half with much more energy," Nadelen said. "Tyler's goal allowed us to settle in."
White and Behring were the best players on the field. Behring finished with 11 saves and played the angles on shots extremely well as his defense forced Towson down the alleys.
White, though, made some point-blank saves in the second half. He did get some help from Fairfield, which shot poorly in the first half. Neither team had a good shooting day as the Stags had only two goals on 33 shots and Towson had four on 26. White finished with 15 saves including five in the fourth period.
"I'm heartbroken," said Fairfield coach Andy Copelan, a former assistant at Maryland. "There are a lot of tears in the locker room right now. Kids gave everything they could, but it wasn't enough. "
"Obviously, he is a big boy," Copelan said of White. "He takes up a lot of cage and makes you shoot the edges. He stood tall the entire game."
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