Hoy's Emergence Between Pipes Fuels Towson Turnaround


Towson goalie Matt Hoy set a career high with 12 saves in the upset win over Syracuse in the NCAA quarterfinals.

Towson goalie Matt Hoy has had an up-and-down 2017. The senior came into the season looking to fill the shoes of the graduated Tyler White, who left with him a CAA-record 36 victories and a goals against average and save percentage that ranked in the top 15 nationally.

But Hoy lost the starting position to junior Josh Miller after a lengthy preseason battle. It was a setback for Hoy, who had played in all of 78 minutes before this season began, but with such a close competition, he had to be ready to step in if needed.

That time came midseason, after Towson had fallen in consecutive games to Ohio State and Denver. Hoy got his first start against Drexel on April 1 — a 10-save effort that helped the Tigers win 8-7.

Since that day, Hoy has been the starter, and Towson has hit its stride. Coincidence?

Hoy put an exclamation point on his breakthrough campaign Sunday, notching a career-high 12 saves en route to Towson’s 10-7 upset win over No. 2 Syracuse at Delaware Stadium — a victory that sends the Tigers to their first final four since 2001.

Hoy and the Towson defense snarled the Syracuse attack all day. He also had three saves in the final seven minutes to hold off a patented late Orange rally. 

Towson’s backup goalie heading into the 2017 season just helped extend it another week.

“It was really nice getting that first one and getting the confidence on what I see as their best shooter right from the get-go,” Hoy said of saving the first shot from Nick Mariano. “And kind of as the game wore on, I can’t explain it, you get into a zone as a goalie.”

Nadelen said Hoy’s effort just added to a complete game from his defense.

“It was a team effort,” Nadelen said. “When you’ve got have really nice defensive midfield, I put a lot of faith and trust in those guys and in the supporting cast around them along with Matt [Hoy] in the cage. … He definitely stole some goals for us in that fourth quarter to keep Syracuse at bay and really seal the game for us.”

Syracuse attackman Nate Solomon was impressed by Hoy’s play, so much so that he had to mention it to him directly.

“He really saw the ball, even from five yards out, every shot,” Solomon said. “I even asked him about. He said ‘Yeah, it was a great shot.’ He saw the ball really well, from the outside and inside.”

It was a long time coming for Towson’s starting goalie. Hoy took advantage of his chance to start against Drexel and did not look back. Nadelen had trouble recalling that exact game during the postgame press conference, but Hoy knew.

“You remember,” Nadelen said, turning his head to the right, toward his goalie. “That’s what a good player does.”

Since the Drexel game, Hoy has held a 6.63 goals against average and made 8.13 saves per game — numbers that, although a small sample size, are reminiscent of White’s totals last season.

He said much of his success stems from a Towson team that does not allow quality shots, if any at all.

“I really don’t see that many shots,” Hoy said. “If you look throughout the CAA tournament, I usually see half as many shots as the other goalie, and that is attributed to how many faceoffs we win, how many times we can get the ball on the ground from one-on-one play with our defenders and then clearing the first time.”

Hoy’s emergence has added another element to the Towson defense, which displayed what it can do when it’s clicking. Short-stick defensive midfielders Jack Adams and Zach Goodrich and long-stick midfielder Tyler Mayes, the CAA Defensive Player of the Year, were impenetrable, limiting Syracuse's first midield to just one goal on 1-for-11 shooting. They often overshadow the stout close defense of Sid Ewell, Chad Patterson and Gray Bodden.

The Tigers will hope for a repeat performance against Ohio State, a team that beat them 6-3 on a frigid day on March 15, in Foxborough on Saturday.

Nadelen said his team is much improved since its matchup with the Buckeyes. Most notably, he said, is the man between the pipes, who might have helped launch Towson into another gear.

“Matt [Hoy] has become our starter since [the Ohio State game],” Nadelen said. “Matt is solidifying himself in the cage, which has really been a huge shot in the arm for us defensively. … The chemistry from the inexperience at our close position to the experience at our rope position has really continued to come through, and they’ve been feeding off each other. They're playing more cohesive. That has been a little bit better for us.”

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