Towson reaped the rewards of back-to-back upsets of then-No. 15 Drexel and then-No. 9 Penn State in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, earning that championship and qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. The team made a quick exit from the postseason, absorbing a 16-6 thumping by third-seeded Ohio State in the first round, but it was still a remarkable achievement under second-year coach Shawn Nadelen.
The Tigers (10-8 overall and 4-2 in the CAA) may have enjoyed that standing last month, but by doing so, they most certainly assumed the role as the team to beat in the league next season. And that is fine, according to Nadelen.
"I think our guys are definitely going to make sure they understand that part of it," he said. "That's a burden that we will carry, and the expectations are there on ourselves. We expect ourselves to be one of the top teams in the country, and if that means being one of the hunted at times, that's fine. You still have to go out there and the only thing that matters is performing at your best and at your highest ability."
While conference foes are reminding themselves of Towson's run, Nadelen said he thinks the experience of playing in the NCAA tournament can positively impact the returning players.
"I think getting to that point was important for us, but the way we performed at that stage was very frustrating for our team," Nadelen said. "Knowing that we worked so hard to get to that point and knowing that we had to perform our best when we got to the NCAA tournament, there was a sense of frustration for our guys. I think to a man, each of our guys can't wait until the fall to start up again and get back to practice and get back to improving and making sure that if we earn that opportunity again, we will definitely maximize that at a higher level. Our guys know that the work that they put in allowed us to get to that point, but they're going to have to put in more time and effort to make sure we can reach that point again and go a lot further because that's what they want for themselves – winning the CAA championship and putting themselves in a position to play for the NCAA championship. And I don't think our guys will settle for anything less."