Towson v. (1) Notre Dame
Towson held a 6-2 lead over Notre Dame with 2:50 remaining in the first half but was unable to withstand a sustained charge from the Irish over the final 32:50 of regulation as Notre Dame earned a hard-fought 12-10 win against the unseeded Tigers at Arlotta Stadium. Towson closes its 2015 campaign with a 12-6 record and possession of the CAA championship while the Irish have extended their season another week, traveling west to Denver for the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament. Tyler White turned away 12 Notre Dame shots and held a 63.16 save percentage in his team's losing effort. Conor Doyle provided combustion for the Irish's offense with five points in a three-and-two effort while Nick Ossello had four points and won 11 of his 13 draws.
The Tigers opened the game creating the kind of circumstances conducive for success in Towson's model. Leaning on its defense, receiving timely offense against a strong Notre Dame defense, dictating the tempo of the game, and taking advantage of sloppiness from the Irish, Towson performed with confidence and control, relishing in its four-goal edge as the first half approached. This goodwill, however, would be short-lived for the Tigers as Tyler Konen's bucket to give Towson a half-dozen tallies seemed to awaken the Irish's dominant side: Notre Dame ripped off three straight goals in a 2:04 span with under three minutes remaining before the intermission to enter the break down 5-6. From that point on, the Irish had momentum -- and a stylistically-preferable volition in the game -- on its side.
Registering the first three goals of the third period, Notre Dame built an 8-6 lead in under five minutes. Towson responded with two straight buckets to knot the scoreboard at eight with 4:31 remaining in the penultimate quarter, but that would be as close as the Tigers would get to Notre Dame the rest of the way: Four straight markers from the Irish from four different goal scorers gave the Irish and unassailable 12-8 lead with 10:21 left on the clock. The Irish's two rushes of at least three goals in the second half were ultimately the difference for Notre Dame, as well as the Irish's ability to create pace and lock off Towson's lurking offensive weapons: In the last 30 minutes of the game, Notre Dame yielded goals on only around 29 percent percent of the Irish's 14 estimated defensive opportunities while bagging goals on around 37 percent of the team's 19 estimated offensive opportunities.
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