Tigers hope for breakout season
Coming off only the third losing season in the last 17 years under Head Coach Frank Olszewski (3-11-2), the Tigers have their eyes set on a Colonial Athletic Association playoff spot in 2012.
With the return of the top three scorers from last season, senior midfielder Phil Martinelli, junior forward Olakunle “Kay” Banjo and junior midfielder Christian Höfer, the offense should be a huge bright spot for Towson.
Banjo, who was a third team All-CAA selection in 2011 and a Preseason All-CAA selection for the 2012 season, has recorded 29 career points in just two seasons for the Tigers. Last season, Banjo was limited to only 12 games but scored four goals and had 10 points. His freshman year, he was named to the All-CAA rookie team and second team All-CAA after tallying 19 points (seven goals) in 16 starts for Towson.
“Kay’s very talented,” Olszewski said. “He’s a player that other teams are very aware of so we have other players on the team that also have to step up.”
Some of the other key players on the team are senior forwards Anthony Okodua and junior Enrico Skrypzak.
“As long as we can get that chemistry going, we’ll be in a pretty good place,” Olszewski said.
Martinelli and Höfer lead a deep midfield group that includes four freshmen and one redshirt freshman. Senior Trevar Ondiek, junior Quinn Meehan and sophomore C.J. Corey will also provide experience in the midfield.
The defense for the Tigers is experienced. Sophomore Daniel Grundel, who was recently named co-captain along with Höfer, started every game as a freshman.
The team is also welcoming the addition of graduate student Josh Danza, a transfer from Stevenson University and a member of the Puerto Rican National Team.
The biggest question for the team is the goaltending situation now that former starter John Steele graduated.
The only player on the roster with experience in the net is senior Nathan Moran. Michael Warns is coming off a red-shirt season. The team also has junior-transfer Sammy Bangura and freshman Felix Petermann, who has started the first two games of the season.
“Thus far [Petermann]’s place is based on performance and thus far he’s done pretty well, so that’s where we’re moving right now,” Olszewski said.
Towson’s schedule will provide a good challenge. The Tigers are away against three of the top four from the CAA last season and face James Madison, Delaware and William & Mary consecutively.
However, if the team can overcome this stretch of the schedule, there’s a strong chance they will reach their goal of earning a spot in the CAA Championships.
“The CAA is one of the top conferences in the country,” Olszewski said. “We know the competition is excellent. We have to get our game in order, all the little details in order to gain our spot. We’re looking for defensive consistency. We’re looking for chemistry from the attacking end and we’re heading in that direction.”