Towson (8-6) still doesn’t know the identity of its opponent in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. There are a number of scenarios, but the team will be either the No. 3 or 4 seed, which means an away game at either second-seeded Drexel (9-4) or top-seeded Hofstra (10-3).
But the Tigers do know that they do not have to play until April 30, and coach Shawn Nadelen said the players will have Wednesday and Thursday off to re-charge and re-focus after Tuesday night’s 15-9 loss to No. 9 Penn at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson.
“I think it’s important for our rest and recovery,” he said. “I think especially after tonight’s game being as long as it was and the way we kind of responded and the effort the guys played with, it’s good to have a day or two off to just their bodies unwind and get refocused academically and make sure they get things lined up for next week, to be proactive, to get a clear head and understand that we have a great opportunity to win the CAA championship and that first game is the semifinal on Wednesday night.”
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Circling back to “Three Things to Watch” …
1) Offense goes stagnant in second quarter. Towson posted the most goals against Penn since No. 13 Cornell scored 17 in an eight-goal rout on March 22, which was also the last time the Quakers lost. But the Tigers went cold in the second quarter, scoring just once on four shots. That opened the door for Penn to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead at halftime.
“That was the one quarter where I actually thought we played well,” Quakers coach Mike Murphy said. “It’s good. I’ll take some satisfaction in the win and in scoring the way that we did. I thought we could have played a little better defensively. … In the second quarter, we really just started flying around. We pride ourselves on defense, and that usually involves sliding more often than not. So we were doing that and playing together. I felt like the guys were on the same page, and the communication was very good, and I think that’s what led to the one goal for Towson in the second quarter.”
2) Tigers’ man-up offense still a disappearing act. Towson’s 25.0 success rate on extra-man opportunities on Tuesday night was actually lower than the team’s season average of 29.5 percent (13-of-44) for the season. Penn, which had killed 68.6 percent (24-of-35) of opponents’ man-up chances, ended two situations for the Tigers with senior goalkeeper Brian Feeney making an easy stick save on a 15-yard shot by junior midfielder Greg Cuccinello in the first quarter and senior Maxx Meyer knocking down a skip pass by senior attackman Thomas DeNapoli in the final minute of the third period.
3) Tigers fumble ball in middle quarters. For the season, Towson had been one of the more protective teams in the nation and was tied with No. 7 North Carolina and No. 12 Hofstra for fourth in turnovers at 11.9. The Tigers coughed up the ball 15 times, and 11 of those occurred in the second and third quarters, which contributed to the Quakers outscoring Towson, 10-4.
“It’s frustrating because that’s the meat of the game there, and that was indicative to why the game went that way,” Nadelen said. “They got more opportunities and were extremely efficient offensively and are very dangerous. They get up and down quickly and they’re a fast-paced team. If you give them that many opportunities that many more times, they’re going to put the ball in the back of the net.”