Nike/LM NCAA Preview: No. 16 Towson (Men)
Towson's defense is one of the tops in the nation, backed by goalie Tyler White. That's a big reason the Tigers are the preseason favorite in the Colonial Athletic Conference.
Towson at a Glance
2015 Record: 12-6
3 Big Things
1. Tyler White is leading the way a big-time goalie should.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Tigers play a deliberate style of half-field offense, minimizing risky dodges and passes that result in turnovers. They invite stall warnings at times. Towson’s commitment to burning the clock and playing to their defense is a direct reflection of Nadelen, formerly a great defender at Johns Hopkins.
White, 6-foot-3, took a huge leap as a stopper and a leader last year, as a second-team All-American and the CAA's Defensive Player of the Year. White averaged 9.7 saves per game with a school-record 7.57 goals against average and the fifth-best single-season save percentage (56.7) in school history. He played all but 38 minutes. This is his team. "Tyler has earned respect," Nadelen said. "His mental focus in tight games is great, and his voice as a leader has been strong this year."
2. Seider is the undisputed lightning rod of the offense.
The most prolific goal scorer on the Tigers' roster last year, Seider is not shy about letting it fly near the cage. His 137 attempted shots were by far the most on the team in 2015, making for less-than-stellar 24.8-percent shooting. Seider will draw more attention than ever this season. "Joe always has the green light, although he's not always on the right road," Nadelen quipped. "He needs to come up big for us."
3. The Tigers are younger, but feel like the team to beat in the CAA.
When Towson upset Penn State to win the CAA tournament in 2013 and made the NCAA tournament, the Tigers were thrilled to be part of the dance. When the Tigers went back to the NCAAs last year, they acted more like veterans, taking an early 6-2 lead at Notre Dame before falling 12-10. "We're not content with [getting there]. We're hungry," Nadelen said. "We know there is nothing handed to you in our league, but our guys really feel like we're capable of winning the CAA every year."
Tyler White (R-Sr.) *
* returning starters
A year after leading the Tigers in goals and making the CAA All-Rookie team, Seider finished with a team-high 34 goals, made the All-CAA First-Team and was the league tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
A two-time US Lacrosse All-American who helped Kent Island (Md.) High win multiple state titles, Goodrich could contribute as a midfielder at either end, and will be an option facing off or as a faceoff wingman. "He embraces any role," Nadelen said.
Bokewicki, who played for two seasons as a backup midfielder, sat out last year with a lower body injury. Nadelen said Bolewicki, a redshirt junior, had the kind of fall season that suggests he is ready to take the next step with the first line midfield.
Biggest Question Mark
Nadelen wants more consistency not just out of junior faceoff man Alec Burkley, who was solid (53.2 percent), but out of the entire unit. If the Tigers can secure more possessions with better wing play and sustain or stop more runs as a result, it will increase their thin margin of error.
Joe Seider will draw more attention than ever this season from defenses, but Nadelen says he "always has the green light." (John Strohsacker)
What rival coaches say about the Tigers
"They are good in goal and strong defensively. Seider and Drenner should lead the offense. They will be a tough out in the CAA.
Coach Nadelen has done a great job with this program - two NCAA tournaments in three seasons - they play with a bit of an edge which is symbolic of him at the helm. Will be one of the many teams competing for the NCAA berth out of the CAA. Tough to ever pick a favorite in that league.
I have been very impressed with Shawn Nadelen. Beating Johns Hopkins last year and almost earning a win over Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament: Wow!
Top goalie makes them different in CAA. They can beat anyone."
Consecutive winning seasons under Nadelen. He has guided the Tigers to two NCAA tournaments in that time. Before that, Towson had not experienced two straight winning years since 2006-07.
20 Mt. St. Mary's
February 27 at Georgetown
With the conference schedule beginning on April 2, Towson will be hunting for valuable RPI points in a non-conference slate that includes Johns Hopkins, Ohio State and Loyola. Up-and-coming Georgetown, with its potentially explosive offense, could offer the earliest chance for Towson to get a valuable win.
The First Midfield
The entire first midfield is starting for the first time. Konen scored two goals in Towson's NCAA tournament loss to Notre Dame. McCarty and Lynch each scored 10 goals last year, albeit on combined 16.8-percent shooting. The attack likely must carry the offense early.
Towson's identity remains intact. With an offense that averaged 35 shots and usually shoots around 25 percent, the Tigers won't scare many people at that end of the field, especially with a midfield that must find its way. But White sets the tone on a proven defense that will keep Towson in many games and in contention for another CAA crown.
comments powered by Disqus