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Shawn Nadelen has lofty goals for Towson men's lacrosse, namely an NCAA championship

Towson, Md.--5/6/15-- Towson's head coach Shawn Nadelen celebrates after defeating High Point by score of 10 to 8 in the play-in game of the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun DSC_3819 sp-towson-high-point-p6-ncaa-lacrosse lam
Towson, Md.--5/6/15-- Towson's head coach Shawn Nadelen celebrates after defeating High Point by score of 10 to 8 in the play-in game of the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun DSC_3819 sp-towson-high-point-p6-ncaa-lacrosse lam (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Towson hasn't competed for a NCAA title since 2001 when that squad advanced to the Final Four before being edged, 12-11, by Princeton. But that hasn't stopped coach Shawn Nadelen from aiming high.

Asked at the Tigers' media day on Jan. 18 if he thinks he can win a national championship with the program, Nadelen replied, "One hundred percent. I'm convinced of that."

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"Obviously, we need to play at an extremely high level and compete at an extremely high level all the time because those things just don't happen by happenstance," Nadelen continued. "It's something you've got to work toward and be able to earn those opportunities, and our guys are understanding of that. They would obviously love that opportunity, but understand a lot of work and a lot of things need to fall in place for us to be able to get to that point."

That mindset has filtered down to the players. Redshirt junior midfielder Brian Bolewicki, a Cockeysville resident and Calvert Hall graduate, said the team wasn't satisfied with simply pushing top-seeded Notre Dame to a 12-10 decision in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament.

"Our coaches have always instilled in us the belief that we are good," he said. "We are good, but we can't be happy with [being ranked] 11 or 12. We can only be happy with [being ranked] 1."

Observers might guffaw at such ambitions, but Towson has fared well under Nadelen, capturing two Colonial Athletic Association crowns in his four seasons. In fact, Nadelen's record of 37-29 in his first four years at the school ranks second only to Carl Runk's 38-14 mark from 1968-1971 when the program played in Division II.

The Tigers were voted as the preseason favorite to win the CAA title again this spring, which serves to validate what Nadelen and his coaching staff have done to remake the program since Tony Seaman was ousted after 2011. But Nadelen said that success should not lull the team into a state of contentment.

"I don't know if it's comfortable, but it's more so that what we're doing is good for our program and working for our program," he said. "I'm not really that comfortable because you never know what that 18-to-22-year-old kid is going to do. With who we have and how we coach and what we want to do on the field, we're very comfortable with the systems that we're running and how we compete against opponents. There's not resistance or questioning or anything like that in a negative way. Our guys are 100 percent on board with it, and that's everything you can ask for as a coach."

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