With several Tiger athletic programs looking to keep streaks alive, TU is ready to kickoff the spring sports season.
With the spring sports season right around the corner, several Towson University athletic programs are hoping to keep their streaks alive.
The Tigers' men’s lacrosse team is looking for its fourth straight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship. The women’s lacrosse team is ready to extend its NCAA Tournament streak to three straight, and softball is going for its 21st consecutive 20-win season.
And while three sports are streaking, Towson University baseball is starting a new era — welcoming new head coach Matt Tyner, who joined the program back in June.
Whether trying to live up to established standards or welcoming a new era, Towson University Athletics is ready to kick off the spring season. Here is a look at the four Tiger athletics programs that will start their seasons this month.
The TU men’s lacrosse team is coming off one of its best seasons in program history. Last year, the Tigers won their third-straight CAA championship and reached the NCAA National Semifinals for the third time in the program’s Division I history and the first time since 2001.
With that type of success, it was no surprise that the Tigers were picked as the 2018 conference favorites in the preseason CAA Coaches poll. Zach Goodrich was also named CAA Preseason Player of the Year, the first midfielder to earn the award.
In addition to Preseason Player of the Year honors, Goodrich was named to the Preseason All-CAA Team. He was joined by teammates Alex Woodall and Sid Ewell. The three also were announced as part of Inside Lacrosse’s Preseason All-America Teams. Goodrich was named first team, while Woodall and Ewell were named as honorable mentions.
The TU men’s lacrosse team was also ranked in several preseason polls. The Tigers ranked 14th in the Inside Lacrosse/Maverik Preseason Media Poll — the only CAA team ranked inside the poll’s top 20. The Tigers were also ranked 14th in the Division I USILA/Nike Lacrosse Coaches’ Poll.
The Tigers open 2018 on Saturday, Feb. 10 at No. 11/No. 13 Johns Hopkins. Game time is set for 6 p.m. and will be nationally televised on ESPNU. This season will also see the Tigers play nationally ranked Duke, Ohio State, Loyola and Denver.
For Towson University women’s lacrosse — you can almost call the last decade a dynasty. The Tigers are winners of six of the last 10 CAA championships. Eighth-year head coach Sonia LaMonica has led the Tigers to a first- or second-place finish in the conference in six of seven years.
Last season the Tigers lost the CAA Championship game to Elon but received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. It was the second at-large bid in program history and was the team’s second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers are looking to continue its conference dominance in 2018. The team was picked second in the CAA Preseason Poll behind James Madison, and six players were selected to the All-CAA Preseason Team.
Among the 18 players named to the preseason all-conference team, Towson led the way with six, including seniors Emily Gillingham, Kaitlyn Montalbano and Tianna Wallpher, juniors Natalie Sulmonte and Carly Tellekamp and sophomore Olivia Conti.
Last season, Conti became the first freshman in the history of the CAA to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors after posting a CAA single-season record 49 caused turnovers. She was also named All-CAA First Team and to the CAA All-Rookie Team.
The TU women’s lacrosse team will start the season ranked No. 19 in the IWLCA Coaches
Preseason poll. The Tigers have been ranked or receiving votes in the final IWLCA
poll in eight of the last nine years.
The Tigers open their season at home on Saturday, Feb. 10 against Penn State at noon. Including Penn State, the Tigers will play against seven opponents ranked in the IWLCA preseason poll. The schedule includes road games at No. 25 Loyola (March 7), No. 2 Stony Brook (March 17), No. 5 Florida (March 21), No. 21 Elon (April 13) and No. 22 Johns Hopkins (April 25). Towson will close out the regular season at home on April 28 against No. 16 James Madison
Towson University softball will look to continue its 20-win season streak in 2018 by returning 13 players — including six seniors. The Tigers have won 124 games over the last four years, an average of 31 wins.
The Tigers will look to make a push to the top of the CAA standings through offense. The Tigers finished among the top half of the CAA last season in several offensive categories. TU was home runs (48) and slugging percentage (.450), and fourth in batting average (.283), runs scored (237) and RBI (212).
The Tigers are led by senior Kendyl Scott, selected to the All-CAA first team and named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I Mid-Atlantic Region Third Team. Scott led Towson in batting average (.341), total bases (96), hits (60), runs scored (37), runs batted in (31), multi-hit games (18), stolen bases (12), multi-RBI games (eight), and triples (four). Scott also plays for the Great Britain National Softball team, which won bronze at last year’s Women's Softball European Championships.
Towson softball starts its 56-game schedule on Friday, Feb. 9, in the Charleston Southern Tournament. The Tigers will take on North Dakota, with the first pitch scheduled for 9 a.m. The Tigers home opener is against St. John’s on Friday, March 3.
Since being introduced as the new Towson University baseball coach in June, Matt Tyner has been ready to lead the Tigers on the field.
“I am very excited for this opportunity as it fulfills a life-long dream,” Tyner said during his introductory press conference. “The amount of support and level of commitment that I have received from [TU Athletic Director Tim Leonard] and his staff continues to show me that Towson baseball has a bright future ahead. I look forward to hitting the ground running with my new team."
The Tigers are led by shortstop Richie Palacios, who was named an Honorable Mention Preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)
selection in a vote by the league's head coaches.
Palacios, who is tabbed as the league's best pro prospect among position players by D1 Baseball, is coming off a season in which he hit .338 with 14 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 29 RBI. He also scored 43 runs and stole 19 bases.
The Tigers kick off the season at New Mexico State on Friday, Feb. 16. The Tigers' home opener takes place on March 2 against Albany at Schuerholz Park on campus.