Westminster's Ryan Drenner has made himself comfortable on Towson's starting midfield

Freshman ranks second on No. 18 Tigers in assists and fourth in points while filling in for injured senior Andrew Hodgson

March 04, 2014|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

As a freshman, Ryan Drenner might have considered himself fortunate to be tabbed as Towson’s fourth attackman. Instead, the Westminster graduate has found a home as a member of the team’s starting midfield.

An undisclosed injury to senior Andrew Hodgson opened a vacancy on a line that included juniors Greg Cuccinello and Justin Mabus, and Drenner has filled the void. He ranks second on the No. 18 Tigers (3-2) in assists with five and fourth in points with eight.

Coach Shawn Nadelen said the move from attack to midfield has helped ease Drenner’s transition to the collegiate level.

“Being a freshman and going against a short stick above the cage, I think that kind of helps him so that he’s not getting thrown to the wolves right off the bat going against a long stick at the attack position,” Nadelen said Monday. “So he has a little bit more time. He’s a good guy with regards to vision and feeding the ball. So he’s used to having the ball in his stick and that’s helped him in the midfield to be able to initiate and make plays. He’s still a freshman. He still makes quite a few mistakes or missed reads at times. He’s just understanding how to flow within the offense that we run and not getting stagnant, and that’s going to come with time. He’s still a freshman that we’re working through, but he’s done a good job of helping us on the productivity side on the offense.”

Drenner’s effectiveness has kept sophomore Ben McCarty on the second line. The South Carroll graduate recorded 13 goals and five assists last season and has scored two goals in two games since returning from a knee injury, but Nadelen said McCarty makes the second unit a dangerous one for opposing defenses.

“I think he’s a good guy to give us a strong presence on that second midfield,” Nadelen said. “I think we have decent chemistry on the first with Justin and Greg and Ryan so far. Ben’s a real good initiator and a guy that teams have to pay attention to on that second midfield line.”

McCarty has been running with sophomore Chris Vetter and freshmen Tyler Konen and Michael Lynch (Boys’ Latin), but could reunite with sophomore Brian Bolewicki. The Calvert Hall graduate has been sidelined with an unspecified injury since a 15-8 loss to No. 3 Johns Hopkins on Feb. 15, but Nadelen said Bolewicki is inching closer to returning for Friday night’s road game against Marist (2-2).

“He got back out there today with some good stick work,” Nadelen said. “Tomorrow, we’re going to progress him into some more things. I think we’ll see how he reacts tomorrow. We can’t get him back out on the field soon enough. He’s a talented kid who in his sophomore year now has come into his own. He brings a lot of IQ to the field as well as an ability to make plays.”

One midfielder who likely will not be available is Hodgson. “As far as I know, I think he’s still out for this week,” Nadelen said.

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