Loyola Maryland is nursing a 31-28 record against Towson, which has only won once in the past 10 meetings. This is the most-played rivalry each program's history, and the Tigers have not triumphed at home against the Greyhounds since Feb. 25, 2006, when that squad emerged with an 11-10 decision.

No. 11 Loyola (1-2) earned its first win of the season in an 18-5 demolition of Patriot League rival Lafayette on Saturday. After giving up 30 goals in the first two games, the defense tightened up against the Leopards, despite missing a pair of senior starters in defenseman Jack Carrigan and long-stick midfielder Ryan Fournier. Junior defenseman Foster Huggins forced a career-high four turnovers and scooped up three ground balls on Saturday.


No. 13 Towson (2-0) opened the season with two victories on the road, capped by Saturday's 11-10 decision at Georgetown. The offense has scored 24 total goals against the Hoyas and Mount St. Mary's. The starting attack of seniors Ryan Drenner (Westminster) and Joe Seider (Hereford) and sophomore Jon Mazza has combined for 64.9 percent (24 of 37) of the team's points.

Here are a few factors that could play a role in the outcome at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

1) Squaring up Towson's Alex Woodall. It could be argued that no transfer has made a bigger impact than the sophomore faceoff specialist who spent last season at High Point. Woodall (St. Mary's) leads Division I in faceoff percentage (80 percent on 32-for-40) and ground ball average (11.0 per game). Loyola coach Charley Toomey knows how crucial it will be to battle Woodall to a 50-50 split, and he has plenty of faith in senior Graham Savio, who ranks 16th in faceoff percentage (59.5 on 50-for-84) and second in ground balls (10.7).

"You've got to defend the X," Toomey said. "Woodall's having a terrific year. Very rarely do you see a guy facing off at 80 percent. So you better have a plan. The good news is, we think we've got a great one, too. As much as we've talked about Woodall, they've got to play Graham Savio. So they better have a plan for Graham tomorrow night."

2) Slowing Loyola's Pat Spencer. Towson scored a 10-8 victory in the first meeting last spring, thanks in part to defenseman Mike Lowe limiting Spencer (Boys' Latin) to two goals and zero assists. The Greyhounds returned the favor in a 10-8 win in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals as Spencer posted three goals and one assist. With Lowe having graduated, either junior Sid Ewell (Essex Community College) or sophomore Chad Patterson (Westminster) could get the primary assignment of shadowing Spencer (six goals and nine assists in 2017), but Tigers coach Shawn Nadelen vowed that no defender will be on an island.

"It's not just going to be one player's responsibility against him," he said. "It's going to be all six players and the goalie to make sure that we're all on the same page and working to defend against him, because he's a big part of their offense. But they've also got five other guys around him that are pretty darn good. So trying to neutralize his opportunities as much as possible will be key."

3) Limiting turnovers. Both teams finished last season ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in fewest turnovers per game. Now they are mired in the bottom 15 with Loyola ranked 53rd out of 69 teams (15.3) and Towson tied for 65th (18.5). The side that can better protect the ball will have an advantage on Wednesday night, especially if the forecast of moderate to heavy rain holds true.

"That's always a stat you can point to pretty quickly and say, 'This is why we lost.' Or, 'This is why it was closer than it needed to be,'" Toomey said. "A lot of it is going to be in the clearing game, but some of it can just be the unforced turnovers. Those are the ones that are really head-scratchers for coaches, and we're all working to limit those."

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