Tigers clawing their way into tournament picture

Towson could clinch regular-season title by beating Penn State or Hofstra

April 20, 2010|By Mike Preston

Towson lacrosse coach Tony Seaman is feeling good about himself and his team these days.

"Hey, I still have a parking space on campus," Seaman said, laughing. "How am I feeling? Oh, a lot better than I was five weeks ago."

Towson (5-5, 3-0 Colonial Athletic Association) should climb back into several Division I Top 20 polls this week after winning its fourth straight against highly regarded Drexel on Saturday night. It was the Tigers' second straight win against the No. 7 team in the coaches' poll.

If the Tigers beat Penn State at home Saturday (noon start) or beat Hofstra next week, Towson clinches the regular-season title and will host the CAA tournament championship game if it makes there.

If the Tigers win the tournament title, they would earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. But even if Towson wins a couple of more games and falls in the championship game, Seaman believes his team still has a chance to make the NCAA field.

"If we stay at or above .500, then we've got a chance," Seaman said. "Our RPI is high and rising, and our strength of schedule is No. 1 and has been for the last three weeks. It will probably get higher because the teams we have played keep winning.

"I guess it will come down to the last couple of weeks and what some of the independents do like Georgetown or Villanova. The best thing for us to do is to just keep winning."

Penn State powerhouse?

It's amazing that Penn State isn't a power in lacrosse.

The Nittany Lions have so many factors working in their favor. They have a gorgeous campus and a great academic reputation, and the in-state tuition is one of the cheapest in the country compared with other states.

The level of lacrosse in Pennsylvania has increased significantly through the years, and the Nittany Lions should have a storied program on the same level of a North Carolina.

Plus, when God is coaching your football team, your school should be drawing blue-chip recruits.

Instead, the Nittany Lions are 2-9. Where is JoePa when you need him?

Hopkins vs. Loyola

Because No. 15 Johns Hopkins (5-6) plays one of the toughest schedules in the country, there is speculation that if the Blue Jays beat No. 8 Loyola (8-2) on May 8, they still might get into the NCAA Division I tournament.

That might be true, but this isn't the same Loyola team that Hopkins has been beating up on for years. When you watch the Greyhounds on tape, you see an outstanding defensive unit with poles Steve Layne, Kyle Cottrell and Steve Dircks and goalie Jake Hagelin.

In its past two wins, Loyola held Fairfield to four goals and Georgetown to six. Hagelin has a save percentage of .619. Cottrell, Dircks and Layne spend a lot of extra time poring over game film each week, and they knew when to slide and whom to slide to.

Navy's skipper has class

Navy coach Richie Meade showed a lot of class Saturday after the referees blew a call that nullified a goal from midfielder Nikk Davis that would have tied the score at 7 with 37 seconds remaining.

Instead, the Midshipmen couldn't score in the remaining time and lost, 7-6, to archrival Army. Earlier in the half, the officials missed a takedown of a Navy player on the right sideline that should have resulted in at least a 30-second penalty on Army.

After the game, Meade was clearly upset, but he didn't take any shots at the officials. Even when the penalty occurred, Meade kept his composure and got his team ready for the extra-man situation.

In a game that is intense as Army-Navy, Meade showed a lot of restraint. If some other area coaches were involved, they would still be flipping out at M&T Bank Stadium.

Terps lack firepower

If No. 5 Maryland (8-2) is going to get to the final four and possibly the championship game, the Terps have to get smarter and start taking better care of the ball.

It has become apparent that the Terps don't have the firepower to match some of the stronger teams in the country such as Virginia, Syracuse or even Hopkins. Maryland went into a deliberate offense with about seven minutes left in Saturday's game against Hopkins despite a three-goal lead.

But if you're going to slow the tempo, at least know when the stall warning has been called. Maryland got called for it twice and then lost possession by stepping outside the box. Later in the game, the Terps had only one player, Ryan Young, who could handle the ball and use up some time.

Note to Terps coach Dave Cottle: Please get another player who can carry or handle the ball. Also, get some more speed. Now we know why Maryland is nicknamed the Terps.

Retrievers turning corner?

UMBC looked impressive in its 12-7 win over Albany on Saturday. Senior attackman Matt Latham had six goals for the Retrievers, but more importantly, UMBC moved the ball well, and there wasn't a lot of standing around.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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