Seniors Mike Lynch and Tyler Young have been taking double shifts in the midfield for Towson, and much of it has to do with the season-ending injury to junior Cole Robertson.
The Annapolis resident and St. Mary's graduate went down with an unspecified ailment in the Tigers' 10-6 win at Delaware on April 15 and has missed the past four games. While Robertson scored only three goals in 11 games, he was a consistent presence on the second line with redshirt senior Brian Bolewicki and senior Matt Wylly.
"Cole was a guy that really after his freshman and sophomore years committed himself over the summer to get back on the field and be in great shape and ready to go," coach Shawn Nadelen said Tuesday. "He earned an opportunity to be a part of the second midfield and be a guy that consistently gets on the field for us. So it's unfortunate that he had an injury in the Delaware game that has kept him out for the past four games. It hurts us as far as depth. Cole was playing some really good lacrosse. He's a good IQ player as well as a threat off the dodge. So taking a guy like that off the field who can give you some quality minutes and give you some depth when you need depth in the NCAA tournament, Cole definitely made us a more dangerous team by being out there. So it's tough losing him, but I feel like the midfielders and offense have done a good job of doing their part."
Robertson's absence means that Towson (10-4) – which opens its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance at No. 7 seed Penn State (12-3) on Saturday at noon in University Park, Pa. – has used only five healthy offensive midfielders in Lynch (Boys' Latin), Young (Arundel), and sophomore Jon Mazza on the first line and Bolewicki (Calvert Hall) and Wylly on the second. Nadelen said the coaching staff must be cognizant of the midfielders' exhaustion levels during games.
"We've just got to gauge it and see," he said. "If there's a quick possession, then we can get them back out on the offensive end quickly. If it's a longer possession, we've got to gauge that and see who's fresh and maybe it will be a little bit more of an attack-driven possession. … But they're all seniors and guys who have logged a lot of minutes for us except for Jon Mazza. So I think those guys understand how to manage it and how to be as effective as possible on the field."