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MX News Update 2024


What to know about CAA Champions Towson

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Even considering the resounding success it’s had in 2024, Syracuse enters the NCAA Tournament with a noticeable limp.

The Orange bowed out of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament prematurely following an 18-13 semifinals defeat to Duke on May 3, a game where SU trailed by as much as 10. Syracuse allowed its most first-quarter goals (nine) in a contest all season long and resorted to benching goalie Will Mark, who failed to save eight of his first nine on-target shots faced.

SU head coach Gary Gait said postgame that the Blue Devils were a motivated group coming off of a devastating upset loss to UNC, and his squad couldn’t match their energy. Now for the Orange, heading into an NCAA Tournament first-round matchup against Towson, they will have to replicate Duke’s response to adversity in their first big dance appearance since 2021.

At the same time, the Tigers pose a threat after outscoring their opponents — Drexel and Delaware — by 19 goals to win the Coastal Athletic Association Tournament.

Here’s everything to know about Towson (13-3, 7-0 CAA) before it takes on No. 4 seed Syracuse (11-5, 3-1 ACC) in the JMA Wireless Dome Sunday.

All-time series

Syracuse leads 9-3.

Last time they played…

The Orange suffered a 10-7 loss to the Tigers in the 2017 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. Towson went up a shocking 6-0 on then-No. 2 seed SU, spurred by a first-quarter hat trick from Joe Seider. A late hat trick by Syracuse’s Nate Solomon couldn’t overcome the early deficit.

Since that defeat, SU hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game. Its previous victory came in the first round versus Yale in 2017, just before falling to the Tigers.

The Tigers report

Receiving an automatic bid after winning its conference, Towson enters as one of the nation’s soundest programs. Even though they hail from the CAA, the Tigers rank 16th in the nation in offensive efficiency, seventh in defensive efficiency and have the 10th-best faceoff unit, per Lacrosse Reference.

Towson’s three losses were all nonconference regular-season games. Yet that included a season-opening 13-5 defeat to Johns Hopkins and a 19-15 loss to Virginia, two of the three ranked opponents the Tigers faced in 2024. Without much competition in its schedule, Towson doesn’t stack up with the quality of opponents Syracuse has battled.

The Tigers do have prolific offensive options that can compare to those in SU’s attack. They have four different players with 30 or more goals, including Mikey Weisshaar (39), Joaquin Villagomez (33), Bode Maurer (33) and Nick DeMaio (32). But DeMaio is who makes Towson’s offense among the best, as he’s totaled a team-high 80 points and 48 assists.

How Syracuse beats Towson

SU hasn’t had much trouble skirting past mid-majors like Towson this year. It crushed Colgate by eight, drubbed Utah by 11 and bested fellow CAA team Delaware by eight. Syracuse’s lone blemish against a side on par with Towson is its loss to Cornell, where it blew multiple seven-goal leads and fell in double overtime.

Though the Orange won’t be without offensive coordinator Pat March like they were for most of their defeat to the Big Red. All they have to pinpoint before attempting to continue their mid-major success versus Towson is embarking on a fast start.

Syracuse was sluggish out of the gate against Duke last week. Mason Kohn and John Mullen lost each of the game’s first six faceoffs to the Blue Devils’ backup faceoff man, Mark was off-balance in the cage and SU’s limited attacking trips often ended in turnovers. If the Orange can return to their game from the get-go — dominating at the faceoff X and leaving it to Joey Spallina and Owen Hiltz to dictate the offense — they should easily handle the Tigers.

Cole Ross | Digital Design Director

Stat to know: 58.1%

It may be tougher for Syracuse to regain its faceoff prowess against Towson. The Tigers’ faceoff specialist duo, Matt Constantinides and Rocco Mareno, have accumulated a 58.1% winning percentage at the X, with Constantinides taking the majority of reps.

Their combined faceoff rate is only 0.5% lower than Kohn and Mullen’s, who have totaled a 58.6% winning percentage this season. SU’s tandem can’t afford to falter from the beginning versus Towson, as the Tigers’ offense is too potent to allow them to control the ball for extended periods of time.

Player to watch: Nick DeMaio, attack, No. 7

The fifth-year attack is the clear leader of Towson’s loaded attack. His five points per game are tied for fifth in Division I, a spot he shares with Spallina. DeMaio’s 48 assists also rank one place above Spallina for the third-most dishes in the country.

DeMaio will look to take advantage of a Syracuse defense that has faltered in recent weeks. In their last four games, the Orange have given up 17 or more goals in three of them and allowed gaudy single-game attacking performances from the likes of Cornell’s CJ Kirst, Virginia’s Connor Shellenberger and Duke’s Brennan O’Neill. DeMaio is next in line to potentially add to what’s been a difficult stretch for John Odierna’s back-end group.


Contact Cooper at: (email protected) | @cooper_andrews