Towson men's lacrosse coach Shawn Nadelen and his players didn't have much time to savor the program's first No. 1 ranking in Division I lacrosse.
After playing upstart Jacksonville (1-4) March 8 in the Crown Lacrosse Event in Charlotte, N.C., the Tigers close out the weekend two days later against No. 2 Cornell, which is off to its best start since the 2014 season.
Nadelen has seen his team get better each game, and Towson has already picked up signature wins against No. 3 Loyola, No. 16 Georgetown and No. 18 Johns Hopkins.
"I'm happy with our progress," Nadelen said. "Our guys are continuing to improve and continuing to get better. I feel like we are doing that more times than not right now. We have really good pieces fitting together and playing well."
Towson (4-0) took over the No. 1 spot after beating then top-ranked Loyola, 12-10, Feb. 27. The Tigers' attack is led by senior Brendan Sunday (15 goals, nine assists), who already surpassed his point total from last season.
Junior Brody McLean (12 goals, four assists), senior Timmy Monahan (six goals, five assists) and redshirt sophomore Luke Fromert (seven goals, two assists) also have been solid.
Senior faceoff specialist Alex Woodall (St. Mary's) has set the tone by winning 72 of his 97 draws (74 percent), He also picked up 51 ground balls and has two goals and three assists.
The Tigers' defense has dominated opponents, allowing just 8.25 goals per game. Sophomore close defenseman Koby Smith (Loyola Blakefield) leads the team with seven caused turnovers. Junior goalie Tyler Canto has made 56 saves over 240 minutes. He also has a 62.9 save percentage and an 8.25 goals against average.
"It's awesome having a defense as good as we do," Canto said. "It really helps me out a lot."
Cornell (3-0) faces the toughest test among the teams in the Crown Lacrosse Event. The Big Red open against No. 4 Penn State (4-0) March 8 before playing the Tigers. Cornell's attack is led by All-American Jeff Teat, who has 11 goals and eight assists, followed by John Piatelli (11 goals, four assists).
The Big Red, however, is allowing 13.67 goals per game, so Towson should be able to get some scoring opportunities.
Towson, Cornell and No. 9 Ohio State (5-0) are the only undefeated teams remaining in the nation for Division I men's lacrosse.
No 3. Loyola Can't Keep Pace with No. 6 Duke
The Greyhounds (4-2) never led in a 12-7 loss to the high-powered Blue Devils (6-1) in Durham, N.C., March 7.
Duke held Loyola attackman Pat Spencer to a goal and two assists. Still, the senior from Boys' Latin now has 306 career points, moving past former Duke standout Jordan Wolf (2011-2014) and Siena's Tony Asterino (1978-1981) and into sole possession of 13th place on the NCAA Division I career points list. Spencer is five points away from tying Loyola's program record of 311 points set by Gary Hanley (1978-1981).
Joey Manown scored two of Duke's five third-quarter goals to extend the lead to 11-3. Loyola sophomore faceoff specialist Bailey Savio finally stopped the momentum by winning the opening draw of the fourth quarter and scoring his first goal of the season.
Freshman Chase Scanlan, sophomore Aidan Olmstead and senior John Duffy then scored consecutive goals to cut the margin 11-7 with 3:05 remaining. However, Duke attackman Joe Robertson scored the final goal of the game with 90 seconds left.
Duke outshot Loyola, 43-22, and won the ground-ball battle, 35-19.
Nakeie Montgomery and Manown had four goals apiece for the Blue Devils, while senior attackman Brad Smith had two goals and three assists.
Scanlan led the Greyhounds with three goals and a pair of assists.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Towson Athletics