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.
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.