Coach: Shawn Nadelen
Location: Towson, MD
Game Location: Newark, DE (University of Delaware)
Game Time: NOONER!
Television/Radio: ESPN2, TK99/105
Weather: 72 Degrees, Partly Cloudy
All-Time Syracuse Record Vs. Opponent: 9-2
Previous Matchup: 10-3 Syracuse Win, 3/25/2000
Conference Record: 4-1
Conference Postseason Results: CAA Champions
NCAA Tournament Postseason Results: 12-8 Win At Penn State
2017 Team Statistics
Total Goals– Shot Attempts: 142-559
Total Opponent Goals– Shot Attempts: 112-411
EMO Goals (Percentage): 12 (.343)
EMO Goals Against (Percentage): 15 (.366)
Team Shooting Percentage: .254
Opponent Shooting Percentage: .273
Shots on Goal Percentage: .596
Opponent Shots on Goal Percentage: .526
Opponent Groundballs: 329
Caused Turnovers: 104
Faceoffs: 179-302 (.593)
Clearing Percentage: 215-242 (.888)
Opponent Clearing Percentage: 232-273 (.850)
Penalties: 44 (35:00 PIM)
The Towson Tigers and Syracuse Orange faceoff at noon on Sunday in Newark, DE for a chance to go to Gillette and play on Memorial Day Weekend. The Tigers earned its way in by taking the CAA crown, but this is a strong program. Sunday will be Towson’s second trip in a row to the quarterfinals, after taking down the Denver Pioneers in the first round last year.
While these two squads have not played a game that counts since 2000, there have been several scrimmages between the two, most recently in 2015. However, Brendan Bomberry played Towson last season while a member of the Pios. Bomberry was not a starter in that game but did see some action as a midfielder and picked up an assist.
No matter what, I would love to see this SU team get a win by more than a goal. Yes, it’s been impressive (and sort of gimmicky at this point), but a dominant win would do wonders for their confidence.
Towson is very aggressive defensively. The double team will come quick and these long-poles do not let up. Syracuse will need to get quality possessions and most importantly tire this defense out. Make them run, make them exert themselves early. And it sure would be nice to take some pressure off of Evan Molloy.
Syracuse got killed in the possession game against Yale due to the play at the faceoff circle. This weekend, Towson is going to hold the ball a lot. The Tigers like to have lengthy possessions. They don’t force shots but instead use “possession shots” to keep the defense off balance and put off the shot clock. You will see a lot of passing around the box and a little two man game.
Ryan Drenner is the quarterback of this offense. From what I’ve seen, he is much better on his right hand. You will absolutely see him dodge from X, but watch the pass off of the dodge. Drenner is the points leader on this squad with 51.
Fellow senior Joe Seider is the leading goals scorer. He has really developed his left handed shot since arriving on campus but has a rifle from the right. The senior who has 120 career goals was hampered by a hip injury for significant period this season but seems to be moving alright now. Seider had four goals and two assists last week against Penn State.
Tyler Konen is the third attackman and is second on Towson in assists with 14.
Mike Lynch cannon if he gets time and room. The senior is the third leading scorer on the Tigers team with 19 goals including four man-up goals and six assists.
Tyler Young is the leader at midfield. As a senior this season he’s had 12 goals and three assists. You will see him dodge from the top, and he has a great looking shot from a distance. He is a dual threat midfielder and can really handle himself on the defensive end of the field which is primarily where he played in first two seasons at Towson. He has 27 groundballs on the year and we may also see him at the wing on a faceoff or two.
Rounding out the starting midfield is Joe Mazza who has picked up 14 goals in 2017. Mazza admittedly had a bit of a tough time transitioning to the college game but it didn’t show as he was named the CAA Rookie of the Year in 2016.
Long stick midfielder Tyler Mayes is fourth in the nation in caused turnovers and 35 on the season along with 37 groundballs. Defensively he is a stud and will be joined on the defensive midfield by senior Jack Adams and sophomore Zach Goodrich.
Alex Woodall is the FOGO for the Tigers. He has a .609 winning percentage, good enough for ninth in the nation. In last weeks matchup with Penn State, Woodall went 7-13 before getting knocked out of the game with an injury. Syracuse.com reported earlier in the week that coach Nadelen believes Woodall is healthy enough to go on Sunday. Connor Harryman took over for Woodall against the Nittany Lions going 6-11, and if the starter falters Harryman will take over. Either way, one thing is very clear, Ben Williams needs to be better. If he’s injured than he shouldn’t be out there given how he’s performed down the stretch. The thing is, I haven’t seen anything to indicate that he is still injured. Whatever it is, let’s hope he is able to work it out before Sunday, otherwise I would go to Danny Varello and try and ride him the rest of the way. At the very least you give your future some extra Tournament experience.
Here we go. The Towson defense is the strength of this team by far and these guys are extremely fun to watch. This squad is very quick to double, especially around the edge of the crease and around goal line extended off the dodge. And when they double, they double hard going until the ball comes loose or the player is able to get rid of it.
After graduating three starting defenseman and the starting goalie in 2016, this is a young group, but they have certainly come together nicely this year. The goal for Syracuse should be possess the ball and win the groundball battles. The Orange will need to tire this group out, something that has been done before against this team.
Sid Ewell joined the Tigers this year after playing two years at the Community College of Baltimore County. The junior has 10 caused turnovers this year. Sophomore Chad Patterson has 11 CTs and 22 groundballs followed up by freshman Gray Bodden and his five caused turnovers and 19 groundballs.
In net, the Tigers went with Josh Miller for the first half of the season before turning the reigns over to senior Matt Hoy. In his six starts, Hoy has not given up more than nine goals against. He has a slight tendancy to cheat low, and Syracuse should throw a lot more shots on net than the Tigers are used to. Towson’s opponents are averaging 15.2 shots on goal per game while Syracuse is averaging 22.1 shots on goal per game.
The Syracuse Orange and Towson Tigers will fight for a trip to Championship Weekend on Sunday at noon. The game can be seen on ESPN2 and heard on TK99/105. Of course, you can always follow me for game updates @Orangelax.