No. 20 Towson’s rise to a tie for second place in the Colonial Athletic Association may have more to do with the defense’s performance than the offense’s woes.
In the team’s past two games, the defense has surrendered an average of 7.0 goals while racking up a 2-1 league record. By comparison, the offense has scored just 6.5 goals per game.
The Tigers (8-3 overall) did come away with a decision over then-No. 18 Massachusetts on Saturday, but scored just six goals for the contest and zero goals in the fourth quarter. Coach Shawn Nadelen said the offense’s struggles are worrisome as the team prepares to welcome conference rival Penn State (4-6, 0-2) to Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
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“We haven’t been productive, and I talked to the team about that after the game on Saturday,” he said on Monday. “Knowing that we’ve had opportunities in both games to put goals on the board and we’re not doing it, we’re continuing to evaluate who we’re playing and what we’re doing to prepare ourselves to execute better on Saturday. Our offense at times is just as frustrated as we are as coaches because they put a lot of hard work into scoring. So we’ve got to really sharpen up a little more.”
The offense’s ineffectiveness has trickled down to its best player. Senior attackman Thomas DeNapoli has recorded just two goals and two assists in the Tigers’ past two games and scored just one goal on eight shots in the win against the Minutemen.
“He definitely has missed a few opportunities shooting the ball,” Nadelen said of DeNapoli. “Teams are starting to go to him a lot sooner than they were in the past, and they’re sliding to him with double teams and triple teams at times. I think he’s just got to be a little more understanding of that and maybe get the ball out of his stick sooner. If he’s not going to be able to get a shot off, he’s got to understand the attention he draws and move it, and the other guys have to capitalize. If teams are going to force the ball out of his stick and other guys to make the plays, our guys haver to step up and do that. We’ve shown that we can do that in the past, and we’ve got to get back to executing that.”