Towson State senior midfielder Lindsay Dixon has never been in a role in which he didn't excel. One day he's an attackman, the next day he's a midfielder. One year he's primarily a feeder, the next he's a scorer.
So when practice began in February, Tigers coach Carl Runk gave Dixon his new orders: score goals.
And Dixon has delivered this season, scoring 23 goals on 8shots. He also has 12 assists, and there have been games when he's been unstoppable, such as the six-goal, two-assist effort against UMBC and four goals against Penn State.
Tonight, Dixon will lead fourth-seeded Towson State (9-2) against No. 5 Johns Hopkins (7-4) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I tournament at Minnegan Stadium (8).Two weeks ago Towson defeated Hopkins, 14-13, as Dixon was "held" to one goal and two assists.
But Hopkins coach Tony Seaman knows that at any time Dixocan dominate a game.
"A lot of our defensive game plan is geared toward stopping him. You have to stress stopping him because he is such a force," said Seaman. "He's big, strong, can run and shoot with either hand. We'll throw a little bit of everything at him."
Loyola coach Dave Cottle said:"He's their go-to guy. They needed someone to step forward after Rob Shek [All-America midfielder] graduated. He has definitely met the challenge."
Actually, the challenge started three years ago. Dixon, 6 feet and 205 pounds, was an outstanding attackman at Broadneck High and played well his freshman year, scoring 13 goals and zTC seven assists.
But during his sophomore year, Runk shifted him to midfield because the Tigers were overloaded with attackmen. Dixon finished fourth on the team in scoring with 17 goals and 16 assists. He earned all-conference honors.
"At first I was kind of unsure of myself," said Dixon. "As an attackman, you learned to lean into a man, but in the midfield, there was much more open field. It was more up and down, and the defense was new to me."
Last season, Dixon was basically a feeder for Shek and attackman Glenn Smith. But when those two hotshots left, Dixon was asked to go to the goal more often.
He may have had flashbacks to his days at Broadneck.
But now, he's getting more of a running start, and with his size, there are not a lot of players going to challenge him.
Right-handed, left-handed, or from any angle, Dixon can score.
"Usually, midfielders are short and quick, and playing the midfield can take quite a lot out of a big man. But he's probably in better shape than any player on our team," said Runk. "He has accepted his role, especially as a team leader, with a great deal of maturity. He's an exciting player to watch, one who has worked hard to get to the top of his game."
Dixon likes the new role. He says he has developed confidence as the season went on along with the rest of the team. Before the season even started, Towson lost three starters from last year's team that lost to North Carolina, 18-13, in the national championship game. Two were declared academically ineligible and another's eligibility had unexpectedly expired.
"At the beginning of the season there were a lot of people who didn't think we would reach this far," said Dixon. "Even the players knew it would be tough. But ever since we beat Maryland, we have started believing in ourselves. We believe we can win it all.
"As for myself, I love the pressure of having to score," said Dixon.
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
Hopkins-Towson tickets available
Some tickets are available for tonight's NCAA men's lacrosse tournament quarterfinal between Johns Hopkins and Towson State at 8 at Minnegan Stadium.
The Towson Center ticket office will open at 10 a.m. with the sale of 750 end zone seats and 1,500 standing-room-only tickets. For information, call (410) 830-2244.
Year .. Games .. Goals .. Ast. .. Pts.
1989 .. 14 .. .. 14 .. .. 7 .. .. 20
1990 .. 12 .. .. 17 .. .. 16 .. ..33
1991 .. 14 .. .. 11 .. .. 12 .. ..23
1992 .. 11 .. .. 23 .. .. 12 .. ..35
Totals..51 .. .. 64 .. ..47 .. ..111