A winner is crowned in the “Battle of Charles Street” every season. Typically the Tigers and Greyhounds duke it out for bragging rights early in the season. Towson won the battle this season in March.
Now the two will meet again, 400 miles away and the stakes are much higher than bragging rights.
Towson and Loyola will face off Sunday at the Horseshoe on the campus of Ohio State University in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner will advance to Philadelphia to compete in championship weekend.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to go out to Columbus in the quarterfinal game against Loyola and to continue to work hard and move forward in our goal,” said Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen.
Towson University is competing in the NCAA Quarterfinals for the first time 2003. The Tigers knocked off the No. 2 seed and defending national champions Denver Pioneers in the first round.
“It definitely helps knocking off the No. 2 team, but all year we’ve kind of been us against ourselves,” said Towson’s senior goalie Tyler White. “We feel like anyone we play against, as long as we put our best foot forward, we have a great chance of beating them.”
Since entering the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers have been on a roll offensively. Junior attacker Ryan Drenner leads the team with 52 points (31g, 21a). Spencer Parks (27g, 19a) and Joe Seider (25g, 5a) each hit the 40-point milestone last weekend in Denver.
Towson’s defense leads the nation, allowing just 7.11 goals per game. White holds the best goals against average in the country at 6.71.
Senior defender Mike Lowe said understanding matchups was key to the win in Denver. He said they’ll need to do the same if they want to beat the Greyhounds and first on the list is rookie attackman Pat Spencer.
“Obviously Pat Spencer, he’s been a hell of a player this year. He deserves all of the accolades he’s got,” Lowe said.
Spencer has recorded two or more points in all 16 games of his rookie season. The freshman has 79 points (33g, 46a) on the season. Senior attacker Zach Herreweyers is the next closest Greyhound with 33 goals and six assists.
Loyola hosted Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds scored the first three goals of the game and never trailed the Blue Devils. Spencer led the Greyhounds with eight points (3g, 5a) and Herreweyers tied his career-best with six goals.
“I’m just excited that I’ve never been this far in the tournament and I know most guys haven’t,” Herreweyers said. “There’s only two guys that have made it further than this and those are the guys that won national championships, so I think just getting down to Ohio and getting ready to play is the biggest thing.”
Sunday’s game will be Loyola’s 23rd all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds won the NCAA Division I Championship in 2012, defeating Maryland, 9-3 on Memorial Day.
Just six miles separate Towson and Loyola, resulting in a rivalry that dates back to 1959. The two have squared off nearly every year. Sunday’s matchup will be the 59th game in the series. Loyola head coach Charley Toomey said it all goes back to an old adage.
“I’m a Greyhound and we don’t like the Tigers and they don’t like Greyhounds and I know it’s going to be a physical game,” Toomey said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun for our guys to feel that intensity of the rivalry that already exists and obviously you just add on the fact that it’s a quarterfinal game. We’re real excited to hop on that plane and get out there.”
Faceoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Sunday from Columbus, Ohio. The game will air live on ESPNU or online via ESPN3/WatchESPN.