Transfer expected to lead team
Towson began its second season under Head Coach Shawn Nadelen with a 9-7 loss to High Point Feb. 8.
The young, inexperienced team is looking to improve on a disappointing 2012 season in which it finished 7-8 overall.
The Tigers were among the best teams in the Colonial Athletic Association midway through the season, but five straight losses at the end of the year resulted in Towson missing out on postseason play.
That led to the Tigers being chosen to finish sixth in the seven-team CAA conference in the preseason. With a bit of an underdog role entering the year, Nadelen said he believes his team is ready to prove people wrong.
“Our guys lick their chops every day to get out to practice to prove they’re a competitive team,” he said.
Nadelen and his staff will have to cope with the fact that nearly half the team is new this season. Several transfers are already in the starting lineup, as well as 14 freshmen.
Nadelen was unsure how well the transfer students would contribute in their first year, but so far he said he has been pleased with their success.
The most notable newcomer is sophomore attack Cory Dobyns, a Drexel transfer who led the Tigers in scoring with four goals against High Point.
“Cory is a guy that can draw attention from opposing teams, which will open up opportunities for our other guys to score,” Nadelen said.
Another key transfer is senior midfielder Neil Hutchinson (CCBC-Essex). With such a young team, Nadelen said he will be leaning on Hutchinson’s experience and veteran leadership in his first season with the Tigers.
“Neil really played strong in our scrimmages,” Nadelen said. “He’s an older guy who will have a lot of weight on their shoulders.”
Having Hutchinson’s experience is key for a young team, but perhaps no Tigers’ veteran leadership will be more important this season than that of goalkeeper Andrew Wascavage.
The senior started 13 of the team’s 15 games last season, recording a goals-against-average of 9.57. He also had 11 saves in the CAA semifinals against UMass.
With the leadership of Wascavage as well as juniors midfielder Jordan Fortman and attack Thomas DeNapoli, the Tigers can successfully overcome an inexperienced roster and meet the expectations of Nadelen.
“We except to win a CAA Championship and make the NCAA tournament,” Nadelen said of the team’s goals.
Doing so will mean the Tigers will have handled one of the nation’s toughest schedules. The program added national powerhouse Duke to the 2013 slate.
“The games that we have in-conference are all going to be tough,” Nadelen said.
Along with Duke, the Tigers will face other top programs in Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Hofstra, Penn State and UMass. Duke, Loyola and Hopkins were all in the top five in “Inside Lacrosse’s” preseason poll.
Towson did receive votes in that poll, but failed to crack the Top 20 rankings. The brunt of the Towson schedule begins this Saturday.
The Tigers welcome Johns Hopkins to Johnny Unitas Stadium at 7 p.m.