Mike Preston: No. 14 Towson men’s lacrosse looks to ‘remain hungry’ amid 6-game winning streak | COMMENTARY

Despite two straight lopsided wins, Towson University men’s lacrosse coach Shawn Nadelen wants his team to remain humble.

The Tigers blew out Monmouth, 17-2, on Saturday before an announced crowd of 1,274 at Johnny Unitas Stadium. That result came seven days after Towson’s 25-2 beatdown of Hampton.

The Tigers (10-3 overall, 6-0 Coastal Athletic Association) are on a roll, having won six straight and going from being unranked at the beginning of the season to No. 14 in the latest Inside Lacrosse media poll.

“We just have to keep understanding and keep preparing,” Nadelen said. “We did a lot of good things but a lot of work has to be done. We have to keep our humility and remain hungry. We know our identity and we have to continue to play to that level.”

Saturday’s win sets the stage for Friday night’s clash against No. 19 Delaware to determine the CAA regular-season champion, but what’s more important is winning the league tournament to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Regardless, both Delaware and Towson would like to send a message in their final regular-season matchup. The teams are ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in a lot of CAA statistics, from goals per game to ground balls, shots, extra-man goals, assists and points per game. The Blue Hens have won five straight, including a 13-6 victory over Drexel on Saturday.

“At times today, we did well,” said Towson midfielder Josh Webber (Calvert Hall), who scored three goals along with attackmen Joaquin Villagomez (Severna Park) and Bode Maurer. “There were a couple of possessions where we didn’t get a good look, but it depends on how we reacted. Today, we reacted really well.”

Towson outshot Monmouth, 51-23, and had a 47-26 advantage in ground balls. Towson also dominated faceoffs, winning 15 of 23, and the Tigers were successful on 19 of 20 clears. Meanwhile, the Hawks failed on seven of 27 clears and committed 27 turnovers.

Monmouth scored its first goal of the game with 6:28 left in the first quarter and didn’t score again until there was 5:37 remaining in the game.

Towson’s offense, though, was relentless.

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“Out of our first three possessions we scored on three, so our confidence was high,” Webber said.

Towson led 7-1 after the first quarter, outshooting the Hawks, 15-6, and dominating in ground balls, 14-7.

On goals from midfielder Mikey Weisshaar (Archbishop Spalding), Webber and Maurer, Towson led 3-0 with 10:09 left in the first quarter. The Tigers followed up with three more goals in the next eight minutes, including two from Villagomez, to build a 6-1 lead with 2:12 remaining. Monmouth’s lone goal of the period was scored by attackman Connor Gorman with 6:28 remaining.

The Tigers’ pace slowed in the second quarter, as they scored two goals in the last five minutes. Villagomez, on an assist from Weisshaar, scored with 4:37 left and attackman Nick DeMaio (Maryland) scored an extra-man goal with a quick turnaround shot with 14 seconds left as Towson went into the half with a 9-1 lead.

Towson doubled the Hawks in shots in the first half, 26-13, and Monmouth had 15 turnovers as the Hawks failed on seven of 11 clearing attempts.

Regular-season finale

No. 14 Towson at No. 19 Delaware

Friday, 7 p.m.