Ben McCarty

Ben McCarty has been promoted to UMBC's starting lineup. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun / March 18, 2014)

Sophomore Ben McCarty has started in the midfield for Towson in the past two games, and coach Shawn Nadelen confirmed that the South Carroll graduate will open Wednesday’s Colonial Athletic Association semifinal at No. 17 Drexel with junior midfielders Justin Mabus and Greg Cuccinello.

Nadelen said the coaches bumped McCarty up to the first line and moved freshman Ryan Drenner (Westminster) down to the second unit to give the offense more options. McCarty has scored one goal on seven shots in his two starts, while Drenner has scored two goals on four shots.

Nadelen stressed that the move should not be interpreted as a criticism of Drenner, who has recorded 11 goals and 10 assists, nor a positive response for McCarty, who has posted seven goals and three assists.

“We knew those guys and the other guys in the midfield would be able to mix and match,” Nadelen said. “We’ve definitely gotten some nice opportunities with those guys in those roles. We haven’t been as productive as we’ve wanted to and capitalized on our opportunities, but we did think we’ve done some pretty good things.”

Nadelen said he is not considering other personnel changes despite the offense averaging just 6.0 goals in the team’s last five contests during which it went 1-4. Nadelen equated the offensive troubles the Tigers (8-6 overall and 2-3 in the CAA) to a batter in a hitting slump or a shooting guard in a cold streak

“I feel like offensively, we’ve been in a bit of that,” he said. “We played a lot of defense because of our faceoff woes, and that affects the offensive end not being able to score goals when we could. But those guys have stayed positive. They understand that we’ve had some pretty good opportunities what we haven’t capitalized on. They’ve been really pushing themselves to do more in practice, to be more productive in practice, to be more efficient, and that’s what we expect of our guys. They just know how to keep battling to keep fighting and to work through the kinks. It’s not just going to happen by wishing for it to happen. You’ve got to work at it, and that’s what our guys have done a good job of.”