Tigers draw VCU in CAAs
For the first time in four years, Towson is headed back to the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, where the team will face sixth-place Virginia Commonwealth (15-15, 8-6 CAA) in the first round.
The only time the Tigers and Rams faced each other this season, Towson suffered a 3-1 loss.
Despite the defeat, the match was close and Head Coach Bruce Atkinson attributed the loss to trouble in the third set and passing in the fourth. Atkinson said he thinks the team will fare better this time around.
“Especially some of our key passers, who are normally more consistent, really struggled. That was one of the sets [fourth] that we really gave away,” he said. “I think that we are more familiar with them at this point. One of their key players who had been out all those previous matches until that point returned that match. While we were slightly familiar with her, we thought that she was still going to be injured, but she ended up coming back, and they’ve made a great run since she’s returned. I think that we are a little bit better prepared this time around.”
As it has been a bit of a theme all year, Atkinson said, that the only team he’s worried about is Towson.
“Here’s where we do a lot of pausing of tape and saying, ‘What’s the read here and what should we be doing, what are our options?’” Atkinson said. “Hopefully you go over those things enough and hopefully they’ll continue to go over those things in their mind. And so when we get into that live situation we’ll be better prepared.”
With a tournament like this, the Tigers don’t know if they’ll be playing past Friday.
But Atkinson said he doesn’t think the short notice will affect the team’s ability to play strong.
The team won’t plan anything past Friday afternoon until after the match.
“I think this is what we’ve tried to do all year long. We prepare match by match by match,” he said. “As a coaching staff, we already have our game plans written up and they’re ready to hand out. And after our Friday matches, whether we win or lose, we hand them out at that point. I think that the team will be in a similar situation. They’re used to being able to get that game plan and have a short amount of time to prepare.”
Without looking ahead to a possible match against Northeastern, should the team advance to the second round, Atkinson said he just wants a clean match from the team on Friday afternoon.
“I just want to see us stick to our game plan,” he said. “And if it’s not working … hopefully we’ll be able to make those changes in a timely manner and in a way in which we can maximize our chance to win that match. And if we do make changes on the fly, then hopefully the team is able to adjust to those changes and execute.”
Towson will play VCU in the first round Friday at 4 p.m. at the Carpenter Sports Building at Delaware University.