Towson has turned faceoff duties to freshman long-stick midfielder Patrick Conroy

Having won 15 of 28 draws in past two games, Conroy has emerged as Tigers' primary faceoff specialist

March 26, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

After eight contests in which Towson couldn’t find a primary faceoff specialist, the team may have found a long-term solution in a freshman who uses a long pole.

Long-stick midfielder Patrick Conroy has assumed the role in the Tigers’ last two games. He won 7-of-13 draws (53.8 percent) in the team’s 12-9 victory over UMBC a week ago and then 8-of-15 faceoffs (53.3 percent) in a 7-6 overtime decision against Colonial Athletic Association rival Delaware Friday night.

Coach Shawn Nadelen said Conroy was part of the faceoff unit during fall workouts, but was forced to sit out the first six games of the season while recovering from an unspecified illness.

“He’s a guy that is not going to wow you with his technique or quick hands or anything like that as far as a faceoff guy is concerned,” Nadalen said. “But what does impress you when watch him is his display of heart and toughness and the way he competes on the field. Sometimes as a faceoff guy or a wing guy, that’s all you need at times. If you run up against a real technical guy, that guy might beat you because he might be a little more skilled. But a scrappy guy can dig in there and fight and come up with some ground balls and opportunities there. Pat’s been able to do that the past couple games. In the second half against Delaware, he was able to win a few of the faceoffs outright by winning the clamper or bringing the ball out and controlling it. I think he’s gaining more confidence and getting more comfortable with his role there.”

Freshmen Conor Pequigney (30-of-72 for 41.7 percent) and Zack Gregory (26-of-60 for 43.3 percent) have had their moments, but the Tigers didn’t finish a game with a 50 percent success rate until the win against the Blue Hens when Towson won 8-of-16.

That’s why Towson is going with Conroy, but Nadelen said Pequigney and Gregory will get their opportunities, too.

“He’s been our most consistent guy as of the past couple games,” Nadelen said of Conroy. “I think he gives us something there. I think it also helps having two short sticks on the wings to be a little bit better off the ground sometimes. Those guys are better at controlling the ball. All of our faceoff guys are still in the mix and looking to continue to improve. Pat might be our guy or run into a roadblock and then other guys will step up and do well for us.”

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