The season began promisingly for Towson, especially after Jon Mazza erupted for six goals in a season-opening 13-5 victory at Mount St. Mary's on Feb. 18. Since then though, the sophomore's production has fizzled.
In 10 games since that season opener, Mazza has only seven goals and two assists. He was held pointless in losses to No. 16 Loyola Maryland on March 1, No. 4 Ohio State on March 15, and No. 2 Denver on March 25.
But in his past four starts – all against Colonial Athletic Association competition – Mazza has three goals and two assists, and coach Shawn Nadelen said Mazza is starting to find his rhythm.
"He hit a rough patch for a bit in the middle part of the season when he wasn't playing overly confident and was pressing the issue and wasn't doing a lot of consistent things out there well," Nadelen said Wednesday. "But I feel like he's settled down in the past couple games and has gotten himself to really sync into the offense a little bit more and understand what's really expected of him and be a contributor and not put so much pressure on himself. I feel like he's allowing the game to come to him a little bit more, which has been good. He still at times is going to make mistakes, but he can't allow those mistakes to affect him moving forward in a game. So I think he's learning how to deal with that and how to think through that and how to push through the adversity and play a complete game."
The No. 19 Tigers (7-4 overall, 3-1 CAA) – who welcome No. 10 Hofstra (11-1, 3-1) to Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson on Saturday at noon – moved Mazza from attack after four starts there to the first midfield of seniors Mike Lynch (Boys' Latin) and Tyler Young (Arundel). Nadelen said Mazza will continue to start in the midfield and simply has to play his game.
"I don't think he needs to do anything to jump-start his game," Nadelen said. "I think he needs to continue to practice really well, understand the game plan, understand his role in that game plan, and when he gets on the field, let the game come to him and take advantage of his opportunities and play hard and smart at the same time. The good thing about Jon is he's a pretty effective dodger, but he's also got really nice vision. So he's got to be able to use that to his advantage and play with poise and not try to force the issue where I feel like he gets himself into trouble sometimes. He takes that upon himself. Sometimes when he makes a mistake, he hasn't learned how to push through it, but I think he's doing a better job with that."