Review & preview: Towson
Here’s the second installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Today, we take a look at Towson.
The good: The Tigers hoped that a goalie would emerge out of a group that included junior Rob Wheeler, sophomore Travis Love and freshman Andrew Wascavage, and Wheeler didn’t disappoint as he posted a respectable .557 save percentage and a 8.97 goals-against average. "We thought Rob Wheeler was pretty consistent throughout the year and did a good job and became more confident as the year went on," coach Tony Seaman said. ... Redshirt sophomore defenseman Marc Ingerman played well, earning a spot on the All-Colonial Athletic Association second team, and freshman Michael Landy started the last three games of the season. "Ingerman was only a freshman and turned out to be our best all-around player," Seaman said. "And then add him with Landy, who got a starting role in the last three games of the year." ... A number of underclassmen got extensive minutes, and although their inexperience showed in several games, the playing time should aid the players’ development. "That’s the greatest part of being a young player," Seaman said. "Next year, you’re a year older. I think that helps a lot. I think they come back knowing what it’s all about, and that’s huge."
The bad: As mentioned above, the Tigers’ youth yielded some mistakes, and it didn’t help that Towson’s first five games included meetings with Virginia, Maryland, Loyola and Bucknell -- all of which were ranked in the top 20. "Even the guys who started for us who were here a year ago, they hadn’t had a great deal of playing experience," Seaman said. "We needed to get through that time, and it just so happened that our schedule was toughest at the beginning of the year. That kind of adds to the problems. I thought our major success story was that we got better later on. There was a great deal of improvement throughout the whole team." ... The Tigers fell in two overtimes to Johns Hopkins, squandered a three-goal lead in the fourth quarter against Hofstra, and couldn’t muster a last-second rally against Villanova. "I think one of my major wishes was that we could add about a minute to every game," Seaman said. "It turns out to be an under-.500 year, but those three could have changed everything for us."
Personnel changes: Towson graduates three of its top four scorers, including attackman Bill McCutcheon (23 goals and 15 assists) and midfielders Justin Schneider (12, 15) and Randall Cooper (12, 13). But a starting attack that could include sophomore Tim Stratton (16, 8) and freshmen Matt Lamon (4, 8) and Sean Maguire (9, 1) looks promising. ... The defense graduates close defenseman Matt Richter and short-stick midfielder Kyle Smedley, but Landy will slide into Richter’s position and freshmen Kevin Lalley and Ian Mills are candidates to replace Smedley. ... Mills is also expected to succeed faceoff specialist Mitchell Rosensweig, and he could get some help from freshmen Andrew Poulos and Matt Thomas. "We might have -- for the first time in a long time -- a faceoff by committee," Seaman said. "I think all three of them are so good and so close to each other that it really gives us some variety."
Outlook for 2010: Promising. A solid defense could be even stronger with an incoming recruiting class that includes Under Armour All-American John Fennessy of Yorktown, N.Y., and Ben Strauss of Lynbrook, N.Y. The biggest question is finding a productive midfield that can alleviate some of the pressure off the attack. A trio of juniors in Will Harrington (23, 3), Brock Armour (8, 8) and Pat Britton (14, 0) will likely start, but the development of a second line is crucial. If Towson can mine the necessary depth, it could challenge for the title in a newly revamped CAA that replaces outgoing members Villanova, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart with Massachusetts and Penn State.