Errant shots and the play of Towson redshirt senior goalkeeper Tyler White played significant roles in the No. 11 Tigers' 10-7 win against Georgetown this past Saturday.
Another factor, according to Hoyas coach Kevin Warne, was the play of Towson's short-stick defensive midfielders.
"Those short-sticks, we could not run by them," Warne said during his postgame conference. "Those guys are really good. They know what they want to do. They don't have to slide as much, and they slide at certain spots, and having the big boy [White, who stands 6 feet 3 and 230 pounds] in the cage, that helps, too. He cleans up anything that goes awry."
Last season, the Tigers had junior Dan Livingston and sophomore Jack Adams start at short-stick with sophomore Tyler Young and Adam Ceribelli backing them. Although Livingston – who changed his last name to Carder – and Adams returned
chose not to return, freshman Zach Goodrich has played well enough to join joined Adams as starters.
Goodrich’s emergence has allowed Young to move to the first midfield, and Carder and Ceribelli
and senior Dan Carder are getting minutes, too.
Coach Shawn Nadelen said he looks for a blend of athleticism and lacrosse IQ in potential short-stick defensive midfielders, who might take some time to warm up to the role.
"It's a position that isn't highly touted, and we've taken guys that played offense in high school to be D-middies just for the opportunity to get on the field and sometimes they're reluctant at that," Nadelen said Tuesday morning. "But when they actually figure out that they can probably play more than an offensive midfielder does, then they're all-in with how much impact they can have. We had Jack and Dan play strong for us last year, but the addition of Zach Goodrich, who is a terrific talent as a freshman, has really allowed our defense to continue to grow and be stronger with the way they've played."
In wins against Mercer, Mount St. Mary's and Georgetown, Towson's Rope unit – a nickname for the trio of short-stick defensive midfielders and long-stick midfielders who round out a defense – has limited starting midfields to four goals on 38 shots and four assists.
Senior defenseman Mike Lowe said familiarity and continuity has helped the defense match up against opposing offenses.
"Everybody's more comfortable playing with each other, which is a big part of our defense, knowing everybody's tendencies and knowing how they play," he said. "With them playing so physical and great on-ball, it gives us more room to press out if we want to or make the slides if we need to. We know they're going to be there."