To many lacrosse observers, Towson is in the midst of a surprising revival, winning seven of 11 games and sitting in a tie with No. 11 Penn State for third place in the Colonial Athletic Association with identical 2-1 records.
But one gnawing issue for the Tigers is a series of lackluster showing in third quarters. In seven contests thus far, the team has been outscored in the aforementioned periods, and four of those games have ended in losses, including Saturday’s 14-3 thumping at the hands of No. 3 Massachusetts.
It’s a troubling trend that has befuddled coach Shawn Nadelen.
“I can’t pinpoint it,” he said Monday. “That’s something that we’ve definitely been concerned with. We’ve been thinking about adjusting how we come out at halftime. Do we come out a little bit earlier to try to get the guys moving a little bit more with some drills? Or do we just get their minds focused and ready to go? I can’t really pinpoint exactly what that is. I think our guys have to figure that out within themselves. Obviously, I’m the coach, and I’ve got to do the best job I can to prepare them with every opportunity. But sometimes, they’ve got to look within and figure out that the third quarter has got to be the one when we come out and get after it. The last time I think we really did that well was against Delaware [March 24], and that’s too far behind us.”
Opponents have outscored Towson, 33-23, in third quarters, which Nadelen characterized as being even more important than first quarters.
“It allows you to set that tempo in the second half,” he said. “If you’re up by a few goals or tied, it allows you to create that good energy, that good tempo and pace of play early. Or if you’re behind a few, it’s a chance to give yourself some momentum coming out of halftime. At the start of the game, you can put yourself in a hole if you don’t start out well and perform, but I think coming out of halftime is extremely important to getting a team’s psyche up, their confidence and just to create that energy for the second half. That’s something we definitely have to continue to adjust.”