TOWSON, Md. - When James Madison University closed to within 8-7 with 5:14 remaining in regulation in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game on Sunday, the Tigers could be excused if they felt like they had JMU right where they wanted them.
One-goal games have become the norm for the Tigers this season.
When they held on for the 8-7 victory, it was their eighth one-goal victory of the season. It was also the Tigers' seventh consecutive one-goal win and their second one-goal victory over JMU in the last week.
The Tigers started the trend with a 7-6 win at No. 12 Loyola in March. After dropping a 5-4 decision to Johns Hopkins, the Tigers posted an 8-7 win over George Washington, a 13-12 victory over Richmond and an 8-7 victory over William and Mary. On April 15, Towson came from behind to post an 11-10 win at Drexel.
Last Sunday, the Tigers completed an undefeated CAA season with a 10-9 double overtime victory over James Madison. In the CAA semi-finals, Towson edged Drexel, 12-11. That set the stage for the 8-7 win in the championship game.
"It's a great feeling to win when it's a close game," admitted senior goalkeeper Mary Teeters, (below) the Most Outstanding Player of the CAA Tournament. "I think we play better when it's close and we have a lot of confidence that we are going to win."
When JMU cut its deficit to 8-7 with 5:14 left in the CAA championship game, the Dukes put tremendous pressure on the Tiger defense as they passed the ball around looking for a good shot.
With 3:01 left, the Dukes missed a shot and maintained possession. With 2:33 remaining, the Tigers'Katie Leech received a yellow card, meaning Towson would play the rest of regulation short by one player. With 32 seconds remaining, Ashley Kimmerer missed a shot high. With 23 seconds left, Caitlyn McHugh took a shot from the right side. But, Teeters made the stop and the Tigers held on for the win.
"We do expect to win and we expect to compete," said Towson Coach Sonia LaMonica. "It is good that we have come out on top in all of these one-goal games. But honestly, some of them shouldn't have been so close. This one we knew would be close.
"Beating JMU like we did took a great showing of heart and character," LaMonica added. "I am very proud of our team."
Senior Monica Zabel of James Madison admitted that her team knew it would be hard to score against Teeters in the final minutes.
"We have a lot of respect for Mary Teeters," Zabel admitted. "She is a great goalie. We came into the game hoping to beat her on low shots but we couldn't get it done. At the end, we were looking for a better shot than we got. But, we were running out of time."
Coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe of JMU added, "In the final minutes we needed to be more aggressive. But, lacrosse is ultimately a game of possessions. For most of the game, we had trouble winning draws and we were getting beaten on ground balls.
"Give Towson credit," she added. "Towson was the champion today."
The Tigers, who tied a school record with their 15th win of the season, will take a nine-game winning streak into their NCAA Play-In Game against Northeast Conference champion Monmouth on Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m. at Unitas Stadium.
With a 15-3 record, Towson is 10-0 when playing at home.
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