Towson, DeNapoli revive in 4th; give Tigers 10-8 win over Mount St. Mary’s

March 03, 2012 | Michael Huber

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The Towson men’s lacrosse team comes back to life after a 20 minute scoring drought in the 3rd and 4th quarter to bring the Tigers record back to .500 (2-2) on the season.  Thanks to a late flurry from the attack unit, Towson overcame an 8-7 deficit to Mount St. Mary’s with 5:13 left in the 4th quarter.  Three consecutive, unanswered goals from Matt Lamon, Matt Hughes and Thomas DeNapoli sealed an important 10-8 win in the Tigers 2012 home-opener.

Towson’s Thomas DeNapoli lead the way for the Tigers, putting up his second hat-trick of the season.  Despite the impact of his goals, all of them were unassisted.  Yes the Tigers won, but 6 of the 10 goals on the day were unassisted.  Towson needs to make progress moving without the ball over the next week and a half before they take on Navy, March 13.  It’s good to see that the offensive players are capable of making strong moves towards goal with the ball, but the elite teams in college lacrosse find their teammates moving off ball.  As we saw from the Greyhounds last week, selflessness can dominate a game.

After taking a 7-4 lead by a Michael Brashears(Calvert Hall) goal five minutes into the second half, the Tigers looked dead in the water over the next 20 minute stretch that saw the Mount rattle off four straight goals.  In lacrosse, a sport heavily impacted by momentum swings, it felt like Towson had lost its edge.  The defense seemed to be back on its heels, and the offense was turning the ball over at the slightest pressure from the Mount St. Mary’s defense.

Part of the issue was the change of goalies at halftime. Last week against Loyola Andrew Wascavage started the game, with Travis Love coming in at the the start of the 3rd quarter.  This week it was just the opposite, Love started the game with Wascavage getting the nod in the second half.  The goalies are practically even when comparing skill sets, I suppose this leads to the indecision of whom to lean on but it looks like the change at half has hurt the Tigers in the 3rd quarter the past two games.  The Mount went on their 4-0 run beginning in the 3rd, eventually taking the lead 8-7 with nine minutes left in the 4th.  Goalies rely on rhythm and confidence to find their groove, it’s hard to imagine that Love or Wascavage are feeling supreme confidence when they are constantly being rotated.  It’s rare to see a top team in the country split time between two goalies, the Tigers need to figure out who their guy is soon and hopefully ride him to a successful second half of the season.

The Mount looked like a 4 man team, relying on twin brothers Brett(attack, 2G) and Bryant(midfield,4G) Schmidt who accounted for six of the teams eight goals.  The other two were midfielder Dan Stranix(3A) and attackman Andrew Scalley(2G,1A).  Stranix and Bryant Schmidt had an unspoken communication that was not evident between any other combination of players, on either Towson or Mount St. Mary’s; the two connected for three goals.

Brett Schmidt was easily identifiable from the press box due to his shoulder length flowing locks, and if you’re going to have hair like that you better be a strong player.  He had one of the more impressive individual plays of the game, swooping past his defender behind the crease, where he then drove hard up to goal line extended selling his intent to feed a cutting Mount midfielder.  Without turning his head or his body back towards the goal, the senior attackman let a shot fly when he got about 5 yards above the goal line.  The no-look shot rang off the upper right hand corner of the goal, ricocheting back in to the field of play.  A supremely confident attempt from a veteran player.  Prime example of why he’s allowed to sport his mullet.

Towson senior attackman Matt Lamon got the start over the junior Dan Kramer and did not let the opportunity slip away.  Lamon played a steadying role for the Tigers, finishing with 2 goals, 1 assist.  He scored the game tying goal(assisted by Robby Zoppo, Calvert Hall) with 5:13 left in the fourth quarter to make it an 8-8 game.

The tone here is not to sell Towson short, simply to point out that the Tigers have a talented core of juniors and seniors who are capable of making a strong run in the CAA.  Still, Towson is a work in progress under first year head coach Shawn Nadelen as he attempts to fiddle with starting lineups and goalie play.  From a neutral perspective the Tigers have work to do, but a win over Mount St. Mary’s is a good building block after the Mountaineers defeated Towson’s CAA rival Delaware 12-10 in their season opener.

Nadelen and the Tigers will face Navy on Tuesday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. from Johnny Unitas Stadium.  Catch the game on WNST 1570AM, coverage starts at 7.