When the Towson Tigers travel to Homewood Field Friday night, Head Coach Shawn Nadelen will feel right at home. The first year coach for the Tigers played four years at Johns Hopkins, originally as a midfielder and then as a defender, the position he played just last season in his 11th year with the Chesapeake Bayhawks of the MLL.
Nadelen, who has been on the Towson staff for seven years, was chosen to succeed long-time Tigers coach Tony Seamen following the 2011 season. An easy choice considering his relationship with the current players, and his world-class knowledge of the game.
Coming off his first win as a head coach on the road against Jacksonville University in Florida; Nadelen looks to have his Tigers in great physical shape and hungry to pull off a cross town upset against the #2 ranked Blue Jays.
For Hopkins, this will be the season opener and one can only assume that Head Coach Dave Pietramala would like nothing more than to hand his former pupil his first career coaching loss.
The Johns Hopkins defense as usual is a talented group under the former All-American defender himself, Pietramala. Junior’s Tucker Durkin and Chris Lightner (Calvert Hall), and sophomore Jack Reilly lead the way for the intimidating Hopkins long poles while freshman Rob Enright looked sharp in the teams scrimmage at Cornell, adding promise to a notoriously solid group.
Junior goalkeeper Pierce Bassett will be between the pipes for his third consecutive year, providing key leadership and vocal command of the defense. Durkin and Bassett are both preseason first team All-American selections, while Reilly was given a second team nod.
Despite such lauded long poles, the Hopkins defense needs to improve the quickness of its slides, after having trouble keeping with the quickness of some of the Cornell attackmen in the Blue Jays last scrimmage.
The Hopkins defense will look to slow down Towson senior attackman Sean Maguire (Calvert Hall) who scored three goals in the season opening 12-10 win at Jacksonville. Maguire is accompanied by two juniors on the attack line, Matt Hughes and Dan Kramer who each tallied a goal and an assist in the opener.
The Towson midfield will look to continue its strong scoring contributions from week one, namely from Thomas DeNapoli who matched Maguire’s three goals against Jacksonville. Fellow Calvert Hall Cardinals Robbie Zoppo and Michael Brashears, along with Carl Iacona add solid depth, and aim to keep their names on the score sheet Friday.
Fifth year senior Chris Boland (Boy’s Latin) is the quarterback of the Johns Hopkins offense. He’s joined by two crafty Canadians on the attack line, Zach Palmer and Brandon Benn who try to fill the scoring void left by graduate southpaw sniper Kyle Wharton.
Coach Nadelen and the Tigers defense will have their hands full with a beastly midfield 1-2 punch in John Greeley (6’3, 215 lbs) and John Ranagan, another preseason First Team All-American for the Jays. Ranagan (6’3, 210 lbs) is one of the most physical midfielders in the country and loves to get his dodges rolling downhill early and often.
The Hopkins midfield is well rounded, Lee Coppersmith, Rob Guida and Mark Goodrich all contributed offensively last season, while short-stick defensive midfielder Phil Castranova (Calvert Hall) would like to upgrade his label to potent two-way middie.
The key to the game often comes down to the face off X and both teams will likely be deploying a committee system to get the job done. Hopkins lost its stalwart face off man Matt Dolente to graduation, leaving the duties to a pair of underclassmen, Mike Faby (St.Pauls) and freshman Drew Kennedy.
Meanwhile Towson efficiently used the two man system in their first game, getting 6 and 5 wins respectively out of the juniors Matt Thomas and Warren Kalkstein (Loyola Blakefield).
So there it is, a quick breakdown of what to expect and who to watch for. Tune in to WNST 1570AM or ESPN U at 5 p.m. ET Friday to catch some live Baltimore lacrosse action. Enjoy.