Men’s LAX looks to return to NCAA Tournament
It’s almost been a year since Towson was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Ohio St. Now a couple of key veterans and a lot of new faces look to accomplish the goal of winning a National Championship.
Head Coach Shawn Nadelen is entering his third year as the head coach of the Tigers and expressed his desire for his team to go far this season.
“We’re trying to win the [Colonial Athletic Association] Championship again, as well as winning the National Championship,” Nadelen said. “I think we’re very capable of doing that if we just play at a high level for every game.”
The Tigers have a very young team this season, as 29-of-42 players are made up of sophomores and freshmen.
But Towson still has plenty of veteran leadership, which includes senior defensive captain John Fennessy.
The fifth year senior, who was selected to first-team All-CAA, caused 12 turnovers and grabbed 16 ground balls last season.
While Fennessy had a great season, he made it clear that the Tigers are striving for more and what the team is focusing on.
“We want to start this season off on a right note, as we unfortunately started off last season 0-3,” he said. “We’ve been making an emphasis in practice to make sure we come out of the gates firing in every game we’re in. A big thing we’re pushing for is to be ready, play hard and if there is adversity; we want to play through it.”
As for the offensive side, junior midfielder Greg Cuccinello is coming off of a 23-goal season, which was third on the team.
The captain also talked about the upcoming season and how the team is ready to accomplish more.
“Last year we took a big step for our program winning the CAA and getting into the tournament, but this season we want to get farther and make some noise,” said Cuccinello. “I think anything less than reaching the Final Four would be a disappointment to us.”
Cuccinello also spoke about his success last season and made sure to point out that he isn’t worried about personal goals.
“Personally, I’m just trying to play within the team offense and we have a lot of a good guys on offense,” said Cuccinello. “It’s not a huge deal if score four goals or zero goals, so long as we have guys scoring for us.”
The Tigers have a challenging schedule this season, which includes in-state rivals Johns Hopkins and Loyola.
“We have never beaten Hopkins or Loyola in my five years here at Towson, so those are two big games we want to win,” Fennessy said.
But first, the Tigers open up at home against High Point. Both Fennessy and Cuccinello expressed the team’s need to beat High Point, after the Panthers beat the Tigers last season in their first season as a lacrosse program.
“Everyone on the team wants to be High Point because they beat us as a first year program, which is unacceptable,” Fennessy said.
“We’re fired up for this game and last year knowing on that bus ride home that we lost to a team that we knew we should have beat hurt,” Cuccinello said. “So we know we can definitely build some momentum if we can start off with a win against High Point.”
The Tigers are hungry to get revenge on a few teams from last season and have a strong desire to get farther in the NCAA Tournament.
Towson opens up at home against High Point on Saturday at 11 a.m.