The postseason drought for the Towson women's soccer team will continue for at least another year.
A four-game losing skid dropped the Tigers (7-10-1 overall and 2-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association) to seventh place in the conference, leaving them outside of the top six squads that qualify for the league tournament. Towson will wrap up the season with a home game against Delaware State on Saturday.
The Tigers have not qualified for the CAA tournament since joining the conference in 2002. The school played in six America East and Big South tournaments between 1992 and 2001, but it has been a long time since the program enjoyed a postseason atmosphere.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm just so thrilled with the quality of what our girls did this year, the character of this team and how hard they fought all season long,” coach Greg Paynter said Thursday afternoon. "To be in every game and to lose so many heartbreaking games, it was such a thrill to see them play such high-quality soccer."
Towson was involved in 12 one-goal decisions this fall, winning three of those contests. The team was also involved in four overtime games, losing three and tying one.
Despite those setbacks, Paynter was heartened by what he saw from the players.
"I think the positive to take is what we are doing on the field is very high quality," he said. "We’re playing a brand of soccer that is fun to watch. We're creating chances, we're playing defense. [Forward] Emily Banes is a senior who had a record-breaking career, but I think the future is very bright in terms of what we are doing in the back and in the midfield in creating those chances."
Besides Banes, who became the program's all-time leader in goals with 28 and points with 72, the Tigers will have to replace a pair of seniors in starting defender Alex Evitts and midfielder Amanda Novy (two assists). But the team returns nine starters composed of five juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen, and Paynter is hoping to build off that youth for the future.
"When you look at our junior class and the number of players that started and contributed, it's exciting to know that we're going to end up with somewhere in the range of five seniors next year that are going to play a lot," he said. "That is a really good foundation for leadership and experience going into next year. And we had some sophomores and freshmen that played a lot of minutes. So I'm really excited about the foundation that we have and the learning process that the girls gained this year."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun