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TigersTigers

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TigersTigers last won the day on August 27

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About TigersTigers

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  1. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    These days, just a fan! I was a student manager for the team when I was at Towson, and I've also coached DIII college and club in the past. I just really enjoy playing and watching volleyball, I follow the CAA closely but I also watch lots of Power-5 and professional. I thought I would lose interest after graduating and moving away, but they keep getting better and better and pulling me back in!
  2. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    It really doesn't matter much, but any hope of getting ranked this season hinges on going completely undefeated all year. They probably won't get ranked during the entire month of October, but once the RPI comes out they might have a chance if they hit 20-0 or 22-0. With conference basically starting for us this weekend (Hampton was not a realistic challenge), I figured I'd do a little breakdown of the rest of the season moving forward with the benefit of having seen nonconference. 9/24-25: Away vs. Stony Brook. They are slightly improved from the last couple of seasons, when we beat them 3-0. They are driven by their two outside hitters, Kali Moore and Leoni Kunz, who comprise about half of their offensive production. They are fairly good in attack, but they are not a good blocking team at all. They dig a lot of balls, but that will be very difficult to do against our extremely potent attack. I expect Towson's numerous quality hitters to shred Stony Brook's block and win both matches without too much hassle. 10/1-2: Home vs. NC A&T. One of the strongest teams in the MEAC before they left it in 2020, and did well in the Big South for the one season they were in it. Despite losing both matches, they showed pretty well against Elon in week 1. They rely even more heavily on their two outsides, Naiya Sawtelle and Hannah Howell, than Stony Brook. This bodes well for Towson, who have excelled this year at shutting down their opponents' pin hitters. They have a strong program right now, but Towson should win both matches, maybe dropping one set over the course of the weekend. 10/8-10/9: Away vs. Delaware. This could be trouble. Delaware looks like a top 4 team in the conference this year, and they will be psyched up to beat us on their home floor. On top of that, they have the best individual player in the conference, Lani Mason, who comprises 42% of their offense all by herself. She got 35 kills in their 3-2 win over Northeastern last Sunday, which is tied for the highest in the nation this year (with another one of our later opponents). Best case scenario: Mason is limited to about 15 kills and Towson has no trouble with the supporting cast, who reluctantly have to take on more responsibility. Worst case scenario: Mason erupts for 25 and the supporting cast thrives as we devote all our energy to stopping Mason. Towson is the overall better team, but this is the first major roadblock of the season. 10/15-16: Away vs. Elon. This one is tricky. Elon should be a very good team, but they inexplicably had a horrible nonconference. On top of that, they did not look super convincing in their week 1 wins over NC A&T. They still have mostly the same team as last year, when they were 3 points away from winning the conference. This includes 2021's Setter of the Year Haylie Clark, this year's preseason POTY Leah Daniel, and the best libero in the conference, Jordan Gower. There is no reason a team with this much quality should be 4-7 right now. If they've found their footing by mid-October, these will be the two toughest matches of the season. They are probably the only team in the conference with talent that can rival Towson's, but if they keep playing the way they are now we'll walk them. No matter what, they'll have revenge on their mind, so this should be another significant challenge. 10/22-23: Bye. There is one home nonconference match this weekend against Chicago State, who does not belong to a conference this season. They are a mediocre team except for Yanlis Feliz, the other player in the nation who has gotten 35 kills in a match this year besides Lani Mason. Beyond that one match, she has not been as prolific or efficient as Mason has. They are a good blocking and defensive team, but their team offense has been poor. That said, this will be one of the biggest matches on their schedule since they don't have a league, while Towson could lack a degree of intensity. It won't be a cakewalk, but Towson should win. 10/29/30: Home vs. William & Mary. The Tribe have been the whipping boys of the conference for years, but they do look better than usual this season. They split their two matches vs. UNCW on week 1 but looked like the better team for the most part. They pose a threat through their offensive balance; their top 4 attackers all have a similar number of kills and 8 players have made significant contributions. Teams like this are difficult to gauge, as you don't know which player is going to kill you on any given day. That said, none of their players are all that strong, and the offense-by-committee method can only take you so far when you come up against a team like Towson who does the same thing except all of their players are better. W&M haven't beaten Towson since 2013, and I don't expect that to change this year. 11/5-6: Away vs. CofC. Another tough road weekend. Charleston has been a thorn in our side ever since they joined the conference, holding an 11-6 record against us. They had a slightly disappointing nonconference, but they are big and physical just like in years past. Their best player is middle hitter Claire Campbell, but they have 6 players with at least 50 kills this season and have never been the type of team to ride just one player. By this point, they will probably have established themselves as one of the top teams in the league. These will be two high-pressure, high-level matches a long way from home against a team that loves to beat Towson. Both matches went to 5 last season, and we can expect something similar this season. 11/12-13: Home vs. Hofstra. The final regular season test will be a homestand against Towson's biggest rivals in this sport. These two teams have played a series of heated and downright nasty matches over the last decade, including last season when they traded 3-1 victories in Hempstead. That said, what made the matches so intense in the past was the similar competitive levels of the teams, and that could be missing this year. Hofstra looks to be firmly middle-of-the-pack right now, still trying to rebuild after their 2018 title. In attack they are buoyed by the trio of Clara Bal, Zyare Abdul-Rahim, and Yagmur Cinel who populate both pins. However, in just about every major statistical category they are average. If we're still undefeated by this point, these matches will be very hyped up. But the fact is that Towson should win both matches, and anything else would be a disappointment. So, final verdict: will Towson go undefeated this season? Honestly, they might. They already did it in 2019, and this team is better than that team. Delaware, Elon, and Charleston will be the three toughest weekends, and all of them are on the road. But, no matter how you break it down, the fact remains: top to bottom, Towson's players are better than any of their opponents'. Of course, that doesn't mean they'll just win. Sports don't work that way. On October 8, they will walk into Delaware's gym 16-0. On that day, the real tests begin. No matter what, win or lose, it'll be fascinating to watch.
  3. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    Basically a bye week for them to start conference play, Hampton was unanimously picked to finish last in the conference this year. On an unrelated note, I'd just like to mention here for no particular reason at all that Pitt wrapped up an undefeated week by plastering #5 Ohio State 3-0 at home earlier this afternoon.
  4. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    To me, it is unlikely that they will crack the Top 25 if they didn't do it this week. It'll be too easy to dismiss them after this week with the tried and true "they don't play anybody" line. And if they commit the mortal sin of losing one match? Forget it. But whatever, it just is what it is. It was nice that they received so many votes, I only expected a small handful.
  5. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    The good thing about being a fan of a non-revenue sport is media companies don't really care about copyright infringement of volleyball matches. Here is a Youtube replay of the Pitt match, for those of you who missed it and want to see it:
  6. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    If they win the conference again he'll be gone for sure.
  7. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    While everybody else is stressing out over football, I will go ahead and pour my thoughts out here. I just need to decompress a bit, and this space is as good as any. As you all either know or will soon be finding out, Towson defeated #7 Pitt on the road this evening, 3-1 (25-12, 25-23, 16-25, 25-18). It was, without question, the best volleyball match Towson has ever played. Pitt may not be quite as good as they were last year (when they made the Final Four), but make no mistake: They are unquestionably a top 20 team at minimum, and they are the best team Towson has ever beaten. They already have wins this season over Hawaii, Texas A&M, Cincinnati, and BYU. But not Towson. And we didn't just beat them, either. We smoked them. They didn't even belong on the floor with us. It looked like we were the team that had just been to the Final Four. Yes, they played an awful match. I don't care. We made them play that way. At just about every single position, Pitt is 3-4 inches taller than us. Our tallest player would be one of their shorter starters. Yet, right from the jump we played like we were the bigger team. We had 9 blocks in the first set alone. That is an unfathomable number for a team like Towson. Occasionally, a powerhouse like Nebraska will get like 12 blocks in a set against a bad mid-major team. Towson grabbing 9 in a set against Pitt? Unheard of. Over the course of the whole match, we out-blocked them 16-3, the final one coming on match point. We just looked, felt, and played big. Victoria Barrett is listed at 5'9". She's probably not even that tall. And yet, of all the offensive players on the floor, it was she who left her mark on the match. She attacked the ball 25 times this match. She scored on 16 of those, and only made 3 errors. 64% of the time that Barrett attacked the ball, it ended up on the floor on Pitt's side. For an outside hitter, that is crazy. Outside hitters usually have low hitting percentages (between 15-30%), as they are often put in disadvantages situations where scoring is highly improbable. Not Victoria, not tonight. It was a career-defining performance on a program-defining night, on the back of a win earlier today against American that we would have considered program-defining 5 years ago. Of course, the whole season won't be like this. This Towson team is good, but we're not THAT good. We're not a top 10 team. We will not make the Final Four, we will probably not make the Sweet 16, and just making the tournament again would constitute a successful season for us. For now, this win doesn't mean all that much. The American match was more indicative of how our season will be (3 tight and nervy sets against a strong mid-major). But maybe, just maybe, it'll make a couple more people in the volleyball world say "oh yeah, I hear they're pretty good" when somebody brings up Towson. Maybe it'll make just a few more people show up for home games this year. Maybe it'll makes us get just one more good recruit that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise. It feels like the culmination of something. But maybe, just maybe, it's the start of something instead. What a day to be a Tiger.
  8. TigersTigers

    Other Fall Sports

    It has been a slow and steady rise for women's soccer since Coach Vettori took over. They are laying the framework for what could be a really great program. Field hockey's progress has been slower, but they also have improved under Coach Jackson and they certainly started from a lower point. Getting the dedicated field hockey field will prove to be huge for them long-term.
  9. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    While everyone was watching football yesterday, this happened
  10. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    Unfortunately, the 3 opponents this week offered no real challenge. Thankfully, there are some tougher non-conference tests to come. Princeton, Radford, and Rutgers will all be fairly tough next week. The week after, though, should be brilliant. They will head to Pittsburgh on Sep. 9-10 to face Bowling Green (one of the strongest teams in the MAC), American (who has dominated the Patriot League for 15 years), and #6 Pitt (who made the Final Four last year). This is the type of nonconference schedule I've been hoping for, and these next two weeks will be a very good indicator of just how good this team is right now.
  11. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2022

    The 2022 Volleyball season began today, and as the resident volleyball guy on this forum, I figured I'd start a thread for this season as the Tigers go for their 4th straight CAA title. Early signs are promising, with two 3-0 victories on opening day over Norfolk State and East Carolina. The team returns many high-quality players from last season, including Senior Middle Lydia Wiers and Junior Opposite Nina Cajic. Fay Bakodimou has opted to utilize her COVID year and return for a fifth season on the outside, where she will be joined by a very good transfer from New Mexico State, Victoria Barrett. Setter is the biggest question mark position, with two new players entering the starting lineup for the first time: Senior Katie McCracken and Freshman Sarah Jordan. Expectations are as high as ever; the Tigers were voted first in the preseason poll and are heavy favorites to return to the NCAA tournament. The real question, though, is if they can take the next step and claim a Power-5 scalp in the tournament. The pieces are there, here's to hoping it comes together.
  12. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2021

    A very good match tonight. What satisfies me is the fact that we played pretty well, and it just wasn’t enough to win. Outside of the first set, it was well-contested, and Penn State certainly had to think harder than they would have wanted to. By now we’ve established ourselves as a mid-major power, but we’re still not quite good enough to challenge the big boys. We should have a team that is fairly similar in quality next year, hopefully we can get back to this point again.
  13. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2021

    After waiting two years for it, the team will finally get the rematch against Penn State they've been hoping for. This is the best chance we'll ever have to beat them, they're an unseeded team this time and are significantly weaker than they were two years ago. We're certainly not favorites, but this is absolutely a winnable match.
  14. TigersTigers

    What a comeback by Volleyball!!!!!!!!

    Absolutely crazy match. The best thing about it was both teams played great. It was extremely high-quality volleyball, and certainly a worthy final. A thrilling win, and it all played out in front of a great home crowd.
  15. TigersTigers

    Volleyball 2021

    The regular season comes to a close this weekend with two home matches against middle-of-the-pack Northeastern. Two wins guarantees the #1 overall seed for the CAA tournament, two losses means no first-round bye. Northeastern is capable of beating Towson twice, they were one of the preseason favorites before getting absolutely decimated by injuries and Covid unavailability. When they are actually able to put all their best players on the floor at the same time, they are very strong.

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