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Towson men's lacrosse coach Shawn Nadelen says underdog label 'doesn't matter' vs. Notre Dame

Towson is a significant underdog against No. 1 seed Notre Dame in their NCAA tournament first-round game at 5 pm. Saturday.

The Fighting Irish (10-2) have defeated five tournament qualifiers and lost only to No. 4 seed Denver and No. 5 seed Duke. Meanwhile, the Tigers (12-5) are 1-1 against teams in the tournament and trailed High Point 5-0 before rallying for a 10-8 win in Wednesday night's play-in game.

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Coach Shawn Nadelen might understand the logic behind Towson's underdog status, but that doesn't mean he has to accept it.

"It doesn't matter," he said Friday. "People have been kicking us to the curb for a long time. If you want to use that as a motivator, that's something you can do. But the big thing for our team and our program is, we know who we are and we believe in what we do. People can rank us any way they want. If they want to rank us, great. If they don't want to rank us, great. Those things don't matter."

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Asked whether his players and coaching staff will use the lack of respect as motivation, Nadelen said: "Not really. We haven't used it at all this year. We concern ourselves more with knowing who we are and playing to our ability and playing the way we know how and executing what opportunities we create for ourselves. We're not going to play that up as much. We're just going to concentrate on ourselves and what Notre Dame wants to do and what happens on the field."

A win would propel the Tigers to their first quarterfinal since 2003, in which they would meet the winner of Saturday's first-round game between Albany (15-2) and No. 8 seed Cornell (10-5). That possibility, Nadelen said, is more of an inspiration to the team.

"We're excited about the opportunity," he said. "We're excited about what we did on Wednesday night to get us this opportunity, and we know they've got to step out onto the field just like we do and earn the game. So our guys are confident and believe in what we do."


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