<
>

Towson talented with seniors, transfers

With two fall scrimmages canceled due to inclement weather, Towson got only one scrimmage in during fall ball -- a matchup with Air Force at Price Modern Lacrosse for Leukemia in Bel Air, Md., in October. Because of the limited time in which the coaching staff had to evaluate the team, much of spring practice time will be used putting the finishing touches on lines, figuring out who works well together and executing game plans with the chosen personnel.

Attacking The Season

Saying the attack struggled at times last season is an understatement. In four of Towson's 15 regular-season games, the Tigers failed to score five or more goals. In nine games, they were held to single digits in scoring. Things gradually got better as the season progressed and a young attack line started to come into its own under new offensive coordinator Michael Allen. The Tigers beat Delaware and came within a goal in double overtime of beating Johns Hopkins.

"Instead of Mike trying to evaluate, he can now focus more on development, and I think that's a huge step," head coach Tony Seaman said. "We're going to be a better offensive team because we're able to use everyone to their skills and ability. And I think we have a better idea of that going into the season."

Junior Tim Stratton, the leader of the group who was highly touted as a freshman two years ago, worked heavily on his weak hand in the offseason and has developed into more of a finisher. Sophomores Sean Maguire and Matt Lamon, who combined for 14 goals last season, will be asked to step up this spring.

One Tough Lineup

If there is one thing the Tigers won't be lacking come May, it's points in the strength-of-schedule department. They get an initial boost with the addition of UMass to the conference slate and will also face off with nine teams in the top 20, six of which were NCAA tournament teams in 2009. When asked about the relentless nature of the schedule, Seaman first laughed a little and joked that his team just might be the only team on the Tigers' schedule not in the top 20.

"There is nothing easy about our schedule," he said. "We certainly have our work cut out for us. If you're going to be successful in the CAA, you have to be able to play anyone, and I think our nonleague schedule prepares us pretty well."

Talented Transfers

The Towson offense will get a boost from two offensive midfielders this season. Graduate student Chris Pastirik, part of Cornell's team for four seasons, will take a large role with the offense, potentially on the first line.

"He brings experience from a winning program. He's always been very slick and has good stick skills," Seaman said of Pastirik.

The second midfield boost will come from St. John's transfer Carl Iacona, who left his former school in the fall. Iacona had a terrific season as a freshman, scoring 18 goals and finishing tied for second on the team with 24 points. While the Tigers' coaching staff didn't get the chance to see Iacona play in the fall, Seaman is confident in the potential he sees in the situation.

Tweaking The Lines

Much remains up in the air in terms of who will play together on which lines -- especially in the midfield, where Towson has a lot of depth and incoming talent.

One constant is senior Will Harrington, a preseason Honorable Mention All-American and a first-team All-CAA selection last season. Seaman talked up Harrington's work ethic and commitment to improve in the offseason and how he's become a more well-rounded player.

The defense will be the unit with the most experience. Senior Joe Wascavage is the leader of the close unit, having been a two-year starter. Marc Ingerman, who generated some attention after a great freshman season, is the team's best cover defender and will take the assignment of covering the opponent's top player. Ingerman has the ability to force a player to his most inefficient shot while also being somewhat of an enforcer.

Seaman said his best defenseman is shortstick defensive midfielder Peter Mezzanotte, who had more takeaways than anyone last season and is the team's best athlete.

New Season

The biggest surprise of the fall was senior David Edens, who came in as a goalie but was converted to defense and will now be in the rotation at the defensive middie position. A couple of young defensemen also stood out -- sophomore Shane Casey and freshman Ben Strauss.

Towson will start spring practices Saturday, focusing on fundamental skills and stick work to start out. Finishing shots will be a primary focus of the offense, and the coaching staff will focus heavily on figuring out who plays well with whom in efforts to develop the midfield lines.

For more on college lacrosse, check out Inside Lacrosse.