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Towson men's lacrosse thriving off strong starts in first and third quarters

Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen leads his team against Loyola in the first half of a college lacrosse game.
Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen leads his team against Loyola in the first half of a college lacrosse game. (Steve Ruark / Baltimore Sun)

No. 6 Towson's best campaign since 1990 has been highligted in part by the team's ability to sprint out of the locker room before games and at halftime.

The Tigers (10-1 overall and 2-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association) have outscored opponents 34-14 in the first quarter and 29-17 in the third quarter this spring. Of the 22 first and third frames they have played so far, they have been on the positive side of the ledger in 14 of them.

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The strong starts have been encouraging for coach Shawn Nadelen.

"Whenever you start strong, I think it helps your team settle in and hopefully gives you an advantage on the scoreboard and gives you confidence to what you have in your game plan," he said Tuesday morning. "The big thing is just confidence early in the game and getting your offense settled and your defense settled early in the game."

But the difference has been narrower against league competition. In an 11-7 victory over Drexel on April 2, Towson outscored the Dragons 2-1 in the first quarter and settled in a 2-2 tie in the third. And in Saturday's 11-8 win against Massachusetts, the Tigers outscored the Minutemen 4-2 in the first and 3-1 in the third.

Both CAA games involved Towson pulling away in the second half. The team rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the third quarter to sprint past Drexel and broke a 6-6 tie at halftime to outlast Massachusetts.

The tight nature of the past two contests is not surprising to Nadelen.

"I think it's a product of our conference teams," he said. "Everybody's strong and the games are closely contested. So I don't think there's really a true runaway in our conference games, and I think everybody understands that. But it is exciting to see that our guys have been able to respond positively and dig in and make a stop defensively or answer a run that the opposing team has made with a goal. … I've always liked our experience, and hopefully, that's going to continue to pay dividends for us down the road. I think that's been a big key to our team being able to stay fairly composed and poised in the second half when the games are tighter."

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