Tigers prepare for championship semifinal
This weekend, Towson will appear in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. With a 25-3, 12-0 CAA record, the Tigers have earned a bye in the first round.
As a result, Towson will not play until Saturday night when it will face the winner of the Hofstra vs. William & Mary game the night before.
Head Coach Bruce Atkinson said the team has looked at game tape of both teams, but will base the majority of its game plan on how the teams play in the tournament.
“It’s nice that one of those opponents is fresh in our minds,” he said. “We’ve watched a little bit of game tape on Hofstra’s recent matches, but we’ll base a lot of it on how the teams perform on Friday night.”
It is still uncertain whether the team will be able to use juniors middle blocker I’ishah Keliikoa and outside hitter Dayane Van Ass.
Keliikoa left last Friday’s game against UNC-Wilmington early after injuring her knee. Van Ass left Saturday’s game against William & Mary early after injuring her knee as well.
Atkinson said right now the team is running senior setter Evan Schulz in practice this week.
“You never know when the other players come back, you never know when another one has passed them up as far as what’s clicking and what isn’t clicking on a team,” he said. “It’s one of the advantages of having a little bit of depth and having players who can play multiple positions and focus on what we have day by day and I think everything will work its way out in the end.”
Both co-captain junior outside hitter Katy Buck and senior middle blocker Alysha McCreary received CAA honors this week. Buck was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week and McCreary was named Defensive Player of the Week.
Buck recorded “double-doubles” in both matches this weekend, logging a single match career-high 23 kills against William & Mary.
McCreary posted 14 kills and 11 blocks over the weekend.
“I think Katy did a really nice job for us,” Atkinson said. “She obviously had a career high in kills and Alysha put up a lot of blocks.”
For this weekend’s tournament, Atkinson said the team is focused on taking care of its own side of the court and ball control.
“We feel that if we can control the pass and if we can control our opponents’ attacks, then we’re a difficult team to defend against, and if we don’t, any of the teams can give us trouble,” he said. “We just have to focus on keeping things clean on our side of the court.”
Atkinson said that from the start of the season he was confident this season’s team would do well. The team didn’t plan to get first seed, but it had high expectations.
“We never had a plan or even a goal to go in undefeated,” he said. “Lots of things have to happen to be able to make everything work out in that way, but we did feel we had the team that could win the conference championship this year. We’ve had lots of ups and downs with injuries, but the team’s been very resilient. We’ve had different players jumping in and out and playing different positions, and I think they’ve done a really nice job digging deep.”