The Towson Tigers (6-5, 2-0 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)) are back in action on Saturday to take on UMass (5-5, 0-2 CAA) at 1 p.m. at Unitas Stadium.
The Towson-UMass Series
The Minutemen hold a 4-2 edge in the series. Last year, UMass defeated the Tigers twice. On April 7, 2012, #2 UMass downed the #19 Tigers, 14-3, as Kyle Smith scored four goals and dished out two assists to lead the Minutemen. On May 2 in the CAA Tournament semifinals, #1 UMass defeated the Tigers, 10-3, as Colin Fleming scored four goals and Will Manny dished out five assists to lead UMass.
The Minutemen this Season
UMass started the season with three straight wins as the Minutement routed Army 16-9, edged North Carolina, 12-11 and beat Harvard, 8-6.
But since starting out strong, they won just two of next seven games. They fell to Brown (8-6) at home, Albany on the road (15-9), Bucknell at home (7-4) and to Penn State at home (7-5).
UMass came back to beat Lehigh on the road on March 20, 6-4 and edge Hartford, 13-11.
Last Saturday, the Minutemen lost their second conference game, falling at St. Joseph's, 7-6.
UMass shoots 26 percent and averages 8.70 goals per game. They allow 8.6 goals per game, and their opponents shoot 25.7 percent.
The Minutemen dominate on face-offs, winning 57.1 percent. They complete 85.5 percent of their clears and convert 25 percent of their extra-man opportunities.
UMass has one of the most dangerous starting attacks in the nation. Senior Kyle Smith (6-2, 170) leads the team with 18 goals and nine assists while shooting 29 percent. Smith has an instant connection with senior Will Manny (5-9, 160), who was a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist last year.
Manny scored 44 goals and dished out 33 assists last year. He's extremely quick as a dodger to the goal or feeding off the dodge. But the senior has played in just five games due to a hand injury. He's still managed six goals and five assists, while shooting 35.3 percent.
Sophomore Grant Whiteway (5-10, 165) has been steady as third attackman with 13 goals and five assists.
The midfield is led by junior Connor Mooney (6-0, 160), who shoots 27.7 percent and has 13 goals, six assists, 17 ground balls. He's a strong dodger and very good off the ball.
Junior Matt Whippen (6-2, 225) offers great size from the midfield. He is tied with Manny and Whiteway with 13 goals and also has four assists while shooting 31 percent. Senior Bobby Tyler (6-2, 185) is a very athletic player who leads the team in assists with 12 and has 17 ground balls and six caused turnovers.
On face-offs, junior Joe Calvello (5-8, 155), has won 115-of-200 draws for a 57.5 win percentage.
Defensively, shortstick middie Ryan Izzo (5-9, 170) is a clearing machine who also has two goals and 35 ground balls.
The close defense is led by senior Jake Smith (6-0, 190), who is second on the team with 11 caused turnovers and also has 16 ground balls. He's joined by senior Ryan Hollenbaugh (6-1, 180), who leads the team with 12 caused turnovers. Freshman Kyle Karaska (6-1, 205) adds a physical presence as the third close defender.
Redshirt freshman Zach Oliveri (5-8, 200) starts in goal for UMass. A key member of the gold-medal-winning U19 Men's National Team last summer at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) world championships, he stepped again, this time for the Minutemen, making 18 saves in UMass's win over No. 4 North Carolina. He has a goals-against average of 8.24 and a save percentage of 56.8.