Towson gets the lead out on Saturday
While the seasons for many Division I programs have already begun (in fact, North Carolina will play its fourth game against Navy on Thursday), Towson will open its season against No. 17 Bucknell on Saturday.
The Bison have already played twice, opening the season with a 12-11 overtime loss to then-No. 1 Duke and routing Ohio State, 11-5, this past Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Tigers wrapped up the preseason with a scrimmage against Princeton on Saturday. Could that be an advantage for Towson since the coaches and players can review game film of Bucknell, which cannot do the same for the Tigers?
"Yeah, but you call people and find out things," said coach Tony Seaman, who attended a media event in which four Baltimore-area Division I coaches previewed their teams and answered fans' queries during a question-and-answer session at the ESPNZone in the Inner Harbor. "I imagine they’ve been living over at Princeton this week. You can look at it both ways."
Seaman’s biggest concern is the early part of Saturday’s contest. While the Bison players will be ready to run, the Towson players will still try to get accustomed to the pace of the game.
"The first quarter, that’s where the biggest disadvantage is for us because it’s a different pace and the level of the game is so much different than a scrimmage no matter what you tell the kids or whom you scrimmage," Seaman said. "One of the reasons why I always like to have Princeton as my last scrimmage is because our kids look at it as a game and play it like a game, and it’s almost up to that level. But still, it’s different. If we can survive the first quarter Saturday and not give them too big of a lead, I think that puts us right where we want to be."
Other Towson notes:
*With an offense that graduated midfielders Justin Schneider and Randall Cooper (a combined 24 goals and 28 assists), the play of senior Christian Pastirik has been a pleasant surprise. Pastirik, a transfer from Cornell, had three assists in the final tune-up against Princeton, and Seaman said Pastirik, an Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate, will move from attack to midfield to further maximize his contributions. "He could be an assistant coach for me," Seaman said. "I’m very amazed by his knowledge of the game and what he sees on the field and what he understands and what he gives to our team. He’s got a good stick, great eyes, a great field sense, can shoot it when he gets his hands free. He’s just a great complement for what we have and I’m thrilled to have him."
*The starting attack figures to include junior Tim Stratton (16 goals and eight assists) and sophomores Matt Lamon (4, 8) and Sean Maguire (9, 1). Because that unit is so young, Seaman said the offense will likely rely on senior Will Harrington (23, 3) and Pastirik to set the rhythm. "You get an advantage of going against a short stick, and that usually gets done from the midfield position," Seaman said. "That’s what we have to do well. So Harrington and CP become really, really important for us."
*A spirited goalie competition between senior Rob Wheeler (Friends) and junior Travis Love (Winters Mill) made things tough for the Tigers coaching staff, but Wheeler, who registered an 8.97 goals-against average and a .557 save percentage last year, will start against Bucknell, Seaman confirmed. Seaman said Love improved dramatically in the offseason. "He’s made my job a lot tougher, which is good," Seaman said. "But Rob’s played well. I think [Love] has pushed him, and he’s had three terrific scrimmages."