For the better part of four months, many of us watched some exciting college lacrosse, whether it was on TV, online, or in person. There were good games, which included all of Championship Weekend, and there were bad games, such as low scoring affairs and of course, the horrendous winter weather. I take a look back at all 69 Division I teams and how they fared this season and what to look forward to in 2016.
I now move on to the season’s top 25 teams, which were decided by the final media poll of the season. If you missed any of my previous recaps, you can read all of them here!
COMPARING 2014 AND 2015 IN NUMBERS
|2014 Conference Record||2-3 (4th in CAA)|
|2014 Scoring Offense||8.47 Goals Per Game (57th in DI)|
|2014 Scoring Defense||9.73 Goals Against Per Game (29th in DI)|
|2014 Goals Leader||#41 Joe Seider – Freshman (23 Gs)|
|2014 Assists Leader||#8 Thomas DeNapoli – R-Senior (19 As)|
|2014 Points Leader||#8 Thomas DeNapoli – R-Senior (36 Pts)|
|2014 Goaltending Leader||#2 Tyler White – R-Sophomore (.502 SV %)|
|2014 Faceoff Leader||#26 Conor Pequigney – R-Sophomore (.395 FO %)|
|2014 Ground Balls Leader||#4 Nick Gorman – R-Sophomore (40 GBs)|
|2014 Caused Turnovers Leader||#22 John Fennessy – R-Senior (15 CTs)|
|2014 Quality Wins||High Point (11-8), Georgetown (8-7), UMass (6-5)|
|2014 Bad Losses||Loyola (20-4), Penn State (8-1), Drexel (13-7, 11-10 OT – CAA Semifinal)|
|2015 Conference Record||3-2 (3rd in CAA)|
|2015 Scoring Offense||8.56 Goals Per Game (55th in DI)|
|2015 Scoring Defense||7.72 Goals Against Per Game (6th in DI)|
|2015 Goals Leader||#26 Joe Seider – Sophomore (34 Gs)|
|2015 Assists Leader||#22 Ryan Drenner – Sophomore (18 As)|
|2015 Points Leader||#26 Joe Seider – Sophomore (41 Pts)|
|2015 Goaltending Leader||#2 Tyler White – R-Junior (.567 SV %)|
|2015 Faceoff Leader||#32 Alec Burckley – Sophomore (.532 FO %)|
|2015 Ground Balls Leader||#32 Alec Burckley – Sophomore (76 GBs)|
|2015 Caused Turnovers Leader||#33 Tyler Mayes – Sophomore (17 CTs)|
|2015 Quality Wins||Johns Hopkins (7-5), Georgetown (9-6), UMass (6-3, 9-8 – CAA Championship), Fairfield (8-7), High Point (10-8 – NCAA Play-In)|
|2015 Bad Losses||Loyola (15-11), Navy (8-7 3 OT), Ohio State (7-6), Hofstra (9-2), Notre Dame (12-10 – NCAA First Round)|
YEAR IN REVIEW
The Tigers enjoyed a successful 2015 season, which resulted in a trip to the NCAA Tournament after winning the CAA Championship in exciting fashion. Their offense wasn’t the reason why the team nearly defeated top seeded Notre Dame in the NCAA First Round or why the team went on to win the CAA Championship. It was because of their defense, which was one of the best in the nation. The Tigers were spearheaded by redshirt-senior defenseman JoJo Ostrander, an Honorable Mention All-Americans, and Third Team All-American redshirt-junior goaltender Tyler White. White was a stalwart in net for the entire season, and complemented the play of Ostander and Tyler Mayes.
Towson opened up their season at home against Johns Hopkins, who were #5 in the preseason polls. The Blue Jays got off to a 3-1 lead midway through the 2nd quarter, before the Tigers scored five unanswered goals to lead 6-3 with 5:53 left in the 3rd. Towson eventually scored the season’s first upset with a 7-5 win, their first victory over the Jays since 1996, which was also when the Hop was #5 as well. They couldn’t capitalize a week later as they fell to Loyola 15-11. The Tigers got back on track a few days later with a 9-6 win over Georgetown, led by Towson scoring the first seven goals of the game, six of which came in the opening quarter.
After a 7-4 win over Mount St. Mary’s, Towson went to nearby Annapolis to take on Navy in a back-and-forth affair. Towson’s Ryan Drenner sent the game into overtime on a man-up goal with 23 seconds left in the final quarter, which would stay the same until 16 seconds left in the third overtime period, when T.J. Hanzsche sealed the game. Towson would take care of UMBC and Hobart before hosting Ohio State in a St. Patrick’s Day matchup. The Tigers led 6-3 with 12:54 left in the 3rd quarter, before Carter Brown scored twice before the end of the quarter to cut the Towson lead to 6-5. Then, Colin Chell and Ryan Hunter scored eight seconds apart midway through the final stanza to give the Buckeyes the 7-6 come-from-behind victory. The Tigers would eventually recover, beating Binghamton 9-8 before starting CAA play against UMass.
The first three games of CAA play was what Towson wanted, three wins and no losses. They took care of UMass, Delaware, and Fairfield to go 3-0 in league play. But the final two games were not all that fond for Towson. Currently in first place, the team hosted Hofstra and were shutout for three quarters. Drenner scored the team’s two goals in the 2nd quarter, while the Pride scooped up a 9-2 win. Their regular season finale was in Philadelphia against Drexel, as the Tigers were looking for revenge of last year’s two losses, including an overtime defeat in the CAA Semifinal. Towson took an 8-7 lead with 11:45 left in the game, but the Dragons ended up outscoring the Tigers 4-2 in the game’s final 10:08 for another victory. The two teams would meet five days later, with Drexel being the #2 seed and Towson as the #3 seed.
It was a different story in the CAA Semifinal, as Towson lead at the end of every quarter, and pulled away in the 4th to finally defeat the Dragons 11-8. The Tigers would face the Minutemen in the CAA Championship, after UMass upset top-seeded Fairfield in the other CAA Semifinal. UMass put up a very strong effort in the 2nd half, tying the game at eight with 3:36 to go, before producing one of the best goals of the 2015 season. After a pass by Justin Mabus got deflected, a scrum ensued. Multiple attempts by UMass players failed, but Mabus was there to get the groundball and score a great behind-the-back goal to give the Tigers the eventual 9-8 win and the CAA Championship.
Towson would take on SoCon champion High Point in an NCAA Play-In game in Towson a few nights later. For the early going, it looked like Towson’s run would end, as the Panthers scored the game’s first five goals to take a commanding 5-0 lead with 3:49 left in the opening quarter. But the Tigers rallied, scoring eight unanswered goals from the latter part of the 1st quarter, until the latter end of the 3rd to take an 8-5 lead. That run would help the Tigers beat the Panthers 10-8 and move on to face top-seeded Notre Dame a few days later in the NCAA First Round. For the majority of the 1st half, it looked as if Towson would pull off the improbable, leading the Fighting Irish 6-2 with 2:50 left in the opening half. But a 6-0 Notre Dame run gave the Irish an 8-6 lead with 10:01 left in the 3rd, which Towson combatted to tie back up at eight. But Notre Dame eventually held on to win 12-10, ending Towson’s outstanding season.
Towson’s offense wasn’t that good in 2015 compared to the rest of Division I. That offense takes a slight hit with the graduation of Max Siskind and Justin Mabus, while the defense takes a huge blow with the graduation of Ostrander. But many key contributors still remain in 2016, and should help the Tigers make another run at a CAA title.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2016
|Nick DelBene||Midfield||Yorktown (NY)|
|Chad Patterson||Defense||Westminster (MD)|
|Matt Sovero||Attack||Sts. Peter & Paul (MD)|
|Dylan Sidoriak||LSM||Conestoga (PA)|
|Brendan Sunday||Attack||Arlington (NY)|
|Nick Muscarella||Midfield||Winston Churchill (MD)|
|J.P. Crowley||Attack||St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)|
|Zach Goodrich||Midfield/FO||Kent Island (MD)|
|Jon Mazza||Midfield||Calverton School (MD)|
|Colin Hitzelberger||LSM||Eastern Tech (MD)|
|Grant Maloof||Midfield||South River (MD)|
|Jackson Mumford||Midfield||Stephen Decatur (MD)|
|Nolan Sachs||Defense||Manheim Township (PA)|
|Jimmy Wilkerson||Midfield||St. Mary’s Ryken (MD)|
The Tigers will have to replace five departing seniors with 14 incoming recruits for the 2016 season. Nick DelBene was a key contributor for Yorktown on offense the past few seasons and should help in the Tiger offense as well. Other names to watch include LSM Dylan Sidoriak of Conestoga, midfielder Jon Mazza, who is also the younger brother of former Under Armour All-American Nick Mazza, and defenseman Nolan Sachs of Manheim Township.