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Sports Lacrosse Insider

Towson's Thomas DeNapoli and Justin Mabus getting comfortable in new roles on attack

The graduation of attackmen Sean Maguire and Matt Lamon has forced Towson to play a version of musical chairs with its starters on offense. Senior Matt Hughes has moved from attack to midfield and sophomore Cory Dobyns, a transfer from Drexel who leads the team in both goals and points (six each), has become a permanent fixture on attack.

Another move has junior Thomas DeNapoli and sophomore Justin Mabus shifting from midfield to attack. The duo has started at attack in each of the Tigers’ first two contests thus far, and their familiarity with the position is not entirely new, according to coach Shawn Nadelen.

“Thomas had played attack in high school [in Lynbrook, N.Y.], so we knew he would be comfortable in doing that,” Nadelen said Monday afternoon. “He’s a pretty dynamic player for us on the offensive end and having him on the field full time at the attack position allows us to do that. And Justin with his field position, that was something that we toyed around with at the end of the season because he was injured and couldn’t run. He ended up having double hip surgery over the summer. He’s just got great vision and he’s a big body and can get something done down at the attack area. And with the departures of Sean Maguire and Matt Lamon at our attack, we knew that we needed to try to fill those voids in the fall.”

Nadelen said moving DeNapoli and Mabus to attack was aided by a certain amount of depth in the midfield.

“When you’re moving those guys out the midfield position, you don’t want to deplete your midfield,” Nadelen said. “But with some decent talent in guys like [senior] Greg Cuccinello and [sophomore] Robby Zoppo and [senior] Neil Hutchinson and guys like that, we feel that our midfield can still be pretty dynamic.”

So far, DeNapoli and Mabus are still getting finding their rhythm. Both players are tied for third on the team in points with three each, and Mabus is tied for sophomore midfielder Rob Zoppo for the team lead in assists with three.

Mabus said he doesn’t have any qualms about playing attack.

“I had all fall to get used to it,” he said. “Working with my teammates, they helped me to get better and get back on the field. I just want to help the team no matter where it is. I’m comfortable with everyone, and I’m sure everyone’s comfortable with me no matter where I am on the field.”

On a related note, Nadelen said his anger from the team’s 12-6 loss to No. 5 Johns Hopkins has dissipated. Nadelen was irritated by what he perceived to be some Blue Jays players celebrating an illegal body check penalty on Johns Hopkins senior defenseman Chris Lightner and exchanged some choice words with coach Dave Pietramala.

On Monday, Nadelen said he has left the incident in the past.

“I put a call in to Coach, and we’re going to talk about it,” said Nadelen, who played for Pietramala and the Blue Jays in 2001, his senior year. “I have the utmost respect for them and their program and with Coach Petro being a mentor of mine, I don’t hold any ill will toward them at all. It’s something that happened during the game, and I’m sure it wasn’t premeditated or anything. Coach and I are going to continue to have a good relationship. I have way too much respect for that man and that school to let something like this affect that.”

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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