I can't say I blame Towson University coach Shawn Nadelen for looking so depressed after the Tigers lost, 8-1, to Penn State on Saturday night. I've been covering college lacrosse since 1987, and that was one of the worst, if not the worst, performance I have ever seen from a team, regardless of division.
The Tigers couldn't pitch and catch. They got outhustled and allowed the Nittany Lions to push them around the field. Towson's performance was on the level of a 13- or 14-year-old team in the Maryland Youth Lacrosse Association's B bracket. With that said, this is still a team on the rise, and you're going to hear a lot more positive about Towson nationally in the future. The Tigers are currently 8-4, and Nadelen has done a good job of coaching in his first three seasons.
Now, you're starting to see him get talent into the school. The Tigers have a young squad but have some good, exciting freshmen to build around in attackman Joe Seider (19 goals, three assists), midfielder Ryan Drenner (9, 10), defensive midfielder Jack Adams, long-stick midfielders Tyler Mayes, Tyler Young and faceoff specialist Alec Burckley.
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The Tigers have lost two of their last three but won six straight before that. With young players there is always inconsistency, and every team turns in a clunker of a bad game once or twice a year. Nadelen should have shown disappointment after Saturday night's game, but overall he should be pleased with the way his youngsters have played. In a year or two, the Tigers are going to be more consistent and a heck of a lot better.