Navy at Towson: Three things to watch

Factors include Tigers' 10-day layoff, Midshipmen's offense and Towson's possessions

March 13, 2012|By Edward Lee

Navy (2-3) leads this series, winning six of 10 meetings. But since renewing the in-state rivalry for the first time since 1997, the two sides have split the last two contests. The Tigers (2-2) have been a much tougher out at home, going 4-1 with the lone loss occurring April 17, 1993. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson on Tuesday night.

1) Tigers’ hibernation. By the time Towson takes the field for the 7:30 faceoff, 10 days will have elapsed since the team’s last contest – a 10-8 victory over Mount St. Mary’s on March 3. Rust is a concern, according to coach Shawn Nadelen. “We were only operating with about 25, 26 guys in practice every day with guys being injured, and we ran through quite a bit of a flu issue with our guys during the past 10 days,” he said. “So during that big break, you’d like to have time to maybe do some scrimmaging and full-field drills, but we couldn’t do it with the lack of depth that we had. So I think there might be a little bit of a rust factor, but I hope they shake it off in the first five minutes or so.”

2) Midshipmen’s shooters. Nadelen appeared to clear up any confusion about the team’s starting goalie when he said Monday evening that junior Andrew Wascavage is expected to get the nod Tuesday night over senior Travis Love. Wascavage’s 11.33 goals-against average and a .493 save percentage are worse than Love’s 9.00 goals-against average and a .571 save percentage, but Midshipmen coach Rick Sowell said the identity of the starting goalkeeper won’t impact his offensive players. “I’m of the mindset that good shots will go against any goalie,” he said. “So whoever’s in there, we have to shoot well and hopefully score enough to win.”

3) Tigers’ possessions. Towson has been outscored 17-7 in second quarters and 12-7 in third quarters thus far, and Nadelen traced the source to the team’s 75 success rate on clears. Nadelen said successful clears lead to more possessions for the offense, which hasn’t been happening on a consistent basis. “I think a lot of that comes to possession time and due to the lack of winning faceoffs, being able to clear the ball effectively, and good stops,” he said. “We have had opportunities to get stops, but we just haven’t been able to get it out of our end at times. I think our offense is operating fairly well, and we have to give them those opportunities. But I think a lot of the difference in scoring in the second and third quarters is a result of us not really having the ball a tremendous amount in those periods to be able to get opportunities on the offensive end.”

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