It is believed that No. 6 Towson will enter Saturday’s showdown at 2 p.m. against No. 14 Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field in Baltimore as the higher-ranked team for the first time in series history. However that news obviously matters little to the Tigers and coach Shawn Nadelen.
“Our guys don’t pay attention to that,” he said Wednesday morning. “We understand that the only thing with rankings that matters is where you are at the end of the season. That’s something that’s out there for the media and different polls to decide. But our guys have done a good job of not paying attention to that and dialing into what we’re doing and preparing for our opponent.”
But, Towson’s rise as one of the top teams in Division I would seem to validate the work Nadelen, his coaching staff and the players have done since he succeeded Tony Seaman after the 2011 campaign. Nevertheless, Nadelen said it’s difficult to evaluate a program’s progress until it has navigated an entire season.
“I don’t think we can do that until we’ve gone through the season and hopefully the postseason and kind of see what we’ve done with our body of work,” he said. “We’re only five games into a 14-game regular season. So we’ve still got a lot of lacrosse left to play. So we can’t look at it and give ourselves a pat on the back or anything because we’re ranked wherever we are. There’s a ton of lacrosse left to be played still.”
The Tigers (5-0) have a rare opportunity to sweep Johns Hopkins, Loyola Maryland and UMBC in the same calendar year. They defeated the Blue Jays, Greyhounds and Retrievers in 1992 and 1996 and beat Loyola Maryland a week ago and UMBC on Saturday.
Typical to form, Nadelen said his only focus is on Johns Hopkins (2-2).
“It’d be another opportunity for us to earn a win against a tough opponent as Hopkins is,” he said. “Hopkins is a strong program, and we’ve got to come out and be able to put forth our best effort and our best execution on the field on Saturday to earn a win. We’re not looking at this as an opportunity to beat Loyola and Hopkins and UMBC in the same year. When we played Loyola and UMBC, we were able to earn wins, and we’re proud of them, however we’ve moved on. Now we’ve just got to prepare and focus for what we expect to see from Hopkins and how to get better as a program.”