NAVY at TOWSON When: Tuesday, 7 p.m. Johnny Unitas Stadium Radio: Navy All-Access; WTMD-FM 89.7 Tickets: $8 adult, $6 youth Parking: $5 Records: Midshipmen 3-3, Tigers 0-3*A New Love: Expect Towson sophomore Travis Love to start in goal in place of senior Rob Wheeler. Love played the second half of a 12-8 loss to Maryland on Saturday; he made two point-blank saves in the first 1 minute 40 seconds and helped hold Maryland's two best shooters -- juniors Grant Catalino and Travis Reed -- to no goals.
*Riders of the Storm: Towson went 8 for 16 on clears against Maryland. Some of that was because of the rainy, muddy conditions. But Maryland's attackmen also were aggressive in riding the Towson longsticks, to great effect.
Keep an eye on Navy junior attackman Andy Warner. He is excellent at harassing opposing goalies and defensemen on attempted clears. Navy also has a unit of three reserve attackmen who are inserted into the game on riding opportunities. They may see some action on Tuesday.
*Stuck in the Middle: Towson's most effective offensive players are a pair of midfielders: Senior Will Harrington (9 goals) and grad student Christian Pastirik (5 goals, 5 assists).
That's not good news for Navy's banged-up defense. The Midshipmen were without two starting defensive midfielders against Lafayette on Friday -- senior LSM Jaren Woeppel and senior SSDM Joe McAuliffe.
The Leopards took advantage. Their starting midfielders combined for 7 goals and 4 assists in a 15-8 victory.
Woeppel sustained a hamstring injury in practice early last week and is questionable to play. McAuliffe, according to the Baltimore Sun, is out for another month with a leg injury. McAuliffe was injured late in the game against Bucknell on March 6. Senior LSM Zack Schroeder missed that game with a back injury but was pressed into service on Friday in Woeppel's absence.
*Get Shorty: Warner (10 goals, 5 assists) is drawing the opposing team's top defender in the absence of senior Tim Paul.
Which defender he will draw on Tuesday is a good question. Sophomore Marc Ingerman is the team's best cover man.
But freshman Ben Strauss started his first game against Maryland and held speedy junior Ryan Young in check. Meantime, sophomore Michael Landy is the best off-ball defender and also has good size (6-feet-1, 215 pounds).
The best defender, however, isn't a longstick.
In a rarity, junior SSDM Pete Mezzanotte leads the team in caused turnovers (he has five). He also led the Tigers in that category last year, with 38.
Expect him to draw senior MF Joe Lennon (7 goals, 3 assists) in the game's crucial matchup. Mezzanotte is physical and also is very athletic. Lennon, a lefty, has scored crucial goals in his career -- most notably in the Patriot League tournament semifinals last year, when he scored the winning goal in overtime. Without Paul, Navy desperately needs some scoring punch from Lennon and Towson will be focused on taking away Lennon's left hand.
If Mezzanotte defends senior MF Patrick Moran (10 goals), expect Navy to run Moran through a lot of screens or "mumbos" to try and find him time-and-space shooting opportunities.