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Injuries, discipline impact midfield depth for Towson men's lacrosse

After recovering from the midseason loss of starting midfielder Andrew Hodgson, Towson's depth in the midfield is in a state of upheaval once again.

Junior Spencer Parks was benched for the No. 18 Tigers' 10-8 victory over High Point in a NCAA tournament play-in game on Wednesday night. And junior Ben McCarty injured his left hamstring in the first quarter of that contest and played sparingly in the second half.

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The idea of playing at No. 1 seed Notre Dame in a first-round game on Saturday at 5 p.m. with a depleted midfield is alarming, but it's not a novel one to coach Shawn Nadelen.

"We've had to play without guys throughout the year," Nadelen said Friday morning as the team prepared to board a charter plane arranged by Towson interim president Timothy Chandler and athletic director Tim Leonard. "But in regards to depth, that was an issue, especially when McCarty got hurt in the first quarter. So it's an issue with regards to guys not being able to play there and taking some of the depth we need. But other guys have to rise to the occasion, and I thought our other guys did that well."

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McCarty (South Carroll) injured his hamstring while scoring his 10th goal of the season with 1 minute, 54 seconds left in the opening period. He returned in the third quarter, but eventually gave way to senior Greg Cuccinello, who joined the first line of senior Justin Mabus and sophomore Mike Lynch (Boys' Latin). Sophomore Tyler Konen and sophomore Matt Wylly also got extended playing time.

"He came back in the second half, but didn't play a ton," Nadelen said of McCarty, who also has posted six assists. "He has a lower-body injury that we will continue to monitor. We'll see how he looks in practice and figure out where we go from here. But you're only guaranteed one game in the playoffs. So you've got to play each game like it's your last, and I think Ben's going to do everything he can to get on the field for us."

Parks (St. Paul's), who ranks second on the Tigers (12-5) in assists (14) and third in points (29), was disciplined for reasons Nadelen declined to elaborate. Despite McCarty's injury, Nadelen said he did not consider playing Parks on Wednesday.

Nadelen was noncommittal about Parks' availability for Saturday's game at the Fighting Irish (10-2).

"We'll see," Nadelen said. "He's working his way back in. We've got practice today, so I'll see how that goes. But depending on how he looks, he might get out there on Saturday."


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