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TigersTigers

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TigersTigers last won the day on May 21

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  1. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    Here’s some cool news: Fay Bakodimou, who played for Towson from 2018-22 and won 4 CAA championships, just recently signed a contract with Cuneo, a team in the Italian Professional League. This is the best league in the world, hands-down, and many players who play there are making really good money. This is awesome for Fay, who had been playing in her home country of Greece since graduating from Towson. It is the equivalent of a basketball player making it to the NBA!
  2. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    Another non-surprise. Cajic completed her 4 years with Towson, becoming the single best player in program history in the process. She will move on to a very strong program; the Lady Vols made the Elite 8 last season and are an outside contender for the National Championship. At the very least, this graduate season in the SEC will bolster her resume, and she has the potential to land a big contract in one of Europe’s top leagues in the near future. Best of luck to her.
  3. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    None of these others are particularly surprising or damaging. Sara Wasiakowska and Aayinde Smith are both graduating from Towson and moving on to grad school, and got proper senior night send-offs. Jas Purakal is a backup Defensive Specialist who rarely played.
  4. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    Big loss. Towson has not had a starting-caliber player voluntarily leave the program before graduating since 2014. One starter was kicked off the team in 2017, and one graduated a season early in 2019. Other than that, there has been extremely low turnover in the starting lineup from season-to-season. There has been considerably higher attrition among non-starters, in large part because the starting lineup never changes. Don is an all-or-nothing coach, you’re either one of his favorites or you’re not. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here; since Don arrived Towson has been extremely savvy and active in the transfer market, picking up a boatload of high level players from the portal. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened again.
  5. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    And the run comes to an end. Congratulations to Delaware, who played an unreal match and deserved the victory. Statistically speaking, Towson actually played a good match too. It was high level volleyball and Delaware are a team worthy of ending the dynasty. Nina Cajic, Irbe Lazda, Aayinde Smith, Rachel Hess, and a few others now say goodbye to the Towson program. I want to congratulate all of them on forming the nucleus of the best Towson Volleyball teams of all time, and wish them all the best of luck in the future. As for those who do return, we can’t pout forever. There is still a lot of talent in that gym, and the Tigers will compete again for the title next season. Onward we march.
  6. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    With a 3-0 beatdown of Stony Brook, Towson advances to their fifth CAA title match in a row. CAA POTY Nina Cajic led the way with 14 kills on ridiculous efficiency, and the Tigers completely outclassed the Seawolves to head back to the big one. Delaware awaits after a 3-1 win over Campbell in the second semifinal. These have been the two best teams all year, and they split their two regular season meetings as well. It’ll be a fun one; if you’re in the area, head on over to SECU and catch this one live at 7pm ET!
  7. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    Yes, I would say that. The tournament is the tournament, and anything can happen, no matter who you are. But this Towson team has clearly gotten better over the course of the season, mainly on the defensive side of the ball. Sydney Stewart has improved significantly in her first season as the starting libero, and the block does a great job of funneling attacks to our back row defenders. It is not surprising at all that this team leads the conference in hitting percentage, hitting almost .300 as a team (good for 7th in the nation). But it IS surprising that they also lead the conference in opponent hitting percentage (the best indicator of a team’s overall defensive strength), holding CAA opponents to just .154 hitting for the season. The shakiness and personnel uncertainty of nonconference is gone, and I really like the way this team has been playing the last month. One more note: The Tigers did lose one of their starting Middles, Erin Brothers, to an apparent knee injury during Saturday’s match against Northeastern. I can’t say for certain what the injury was, but it looked bad and she did not dress on Sunday. My guess is that she will miss the rest of the season. Brothers had been having a great Sophomore season, so it’s definitely an untimely and unfortunate injury for her. In her place, we got to see Junior Ylenia de Mango start for the first time this year on Sunday, and she did not look out of place at all. A tough injury, but definitely not an insurmountable one.
  8. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    A wild final weekend has brought the CAA regular season to a close, and the tournament field has finally solidified. There's a lot to unpack here, so I'll start with the good guys. Towson managed to maintain their grip on the #1 seed and the outright regular-season championship with two dominant victories over Northeastern, meaning they have ensured that the CAA tournament will return to SECU Arena for a 5th consecutive year in 2024. Early-season reports that the Tigers' best years are behind them have proven to be greatly exaggerated; they are 23-5, 16-2 in conference, and are the favorites to return to the NCAA tournament. However, this will be the strongest tournament field that the Tigers have faced since their winning run began in 2019. Anybody can beat anybody in this bracket. Before Towson's run, this conference was rife with parity from 2012-2018, and it appears to be on its way to returning to the status quo. Here are the final standings: Towson (16-2) Delaware (15-3) Campbell (13-5) Charleston (11-7) Stony Brook (11-7) Northeastern (9-9) UNCW (9-9) Hofstra (8-10) William & Mary (8-10) NC A&T (6-12) Elon (2-16) Hampton (0-16) Northeastern closed out their Sunday loss against and immediately turned their heads to the scoreboard, where they needed a couple results to fall their way in order to get into the tournament. W&M and Hofstra were both still mathematically alive on Sunday, and Northeastern needed both to lose to get in. Lo and behold, they got their wish. UNCW, who was already eliminated going into Sunday, completed a weekend sweep over the Tribe to end their season prematurely. Stony Brook, already having clinched with their Saturday win over the Pride, did their part as well, sweeping Hofstra in a heated match on Sunday, including a wacky ending to the 3rd set. Hofstra thought they had won it 25-23, only to have the final point be overturned by a challenge, followed by two rather fortuitous consecutive aces to end the match. The quick turnaround left the Hofstra players totally stunned and many of them were visibly angry. It was the final nail in the coffin for a season that turned out to be a total calamity in Hempstead. Hofstra had the 3rd-most talented roster in the league this season. For them to not even make the tournament is a failure of epic proportions, the biggest of Emily Mansur's career. Excluding the anomalous COVID season, this will be the first time since 2011 that the Pride will not be in the CAA tournament. For such a strong program and group of players to go 14-2 the season prior and follow it up by immediately missing the tournament with a BETTER roster is nothing short of complete disaster. Emily Mansur is a great coach, but if this happened in the P5, or in a sport with more money involved, she would be fired. Hofstra's pain turned out to be Northeastern's gain, as they benefitted from the chaos to sneak into the tournament field, winning the tiebreaker over UNCW. Now, all the dust has settled and the bracket is set. It will play out like this: Thursday, 11/16: #4 CofC vs. #5 Stony Brook (Winner plays #1 Towson) #3 Campbell vs. #6 Northeastern (Winner plays #2 Delaware) The stage is set. Now it's time for the fun part!
  9. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    Two 3-dongs against Elon push the Tigers to 14-2 with one week to go in the regular season. It’s honestly sad to see the state of Elon right now; this is a team that was 3 points away from winning the CAA in 2021, and the only team that beat Towson in 2022. Now, with some of the same players still in the lineup as in 2021, they are an absolute doormat. It’s unfortunate that they have not been able to sustain that short window of success. During today’s match, Towson messed around with the lineup for Senior Day and still easily beat them. That said, entering the final two matches, the playoff race looks like this: Towson (14-2), Delaware (13-3), and Campbell (11-5) are in Stony Brook (9-7), Charleston (9-7), and Northeastern (9-7) would be in if the season ended today Hofstra (8-8), W&M (8-8), and UNCW (7-9) are still alive NC A&T (6-10), Elon (2-14), and Hampton (0-16) are eliminated The matchups for next week: Towson@Northeastern, Delaware@Elon, Campbell@NC A&T, Stony Brook@Hofstra, Charleston@Hampton, W&M@UNCW Northeastern has historically been a tough place to play for Towson, but I’d bet on these Tigers to win at least one match in Boston. If they do so, they will be the #1 seed. Northeastern could be in trouble; two losses would put them at 9-9, teetering right on the edge of where you need to be to make it in. Delaware vs. Elon holds little consequence, but Delaware could snatch the #1 seed with two wins and two Towson losses. Two wins would also guarantee the Blue Hens the #2 seed, which would give them a first-round bye. Campbell vs. A&T is also meaningless, save for the minuscule chance that Delaware loses twice and Campbell is able to snatch the #2 seed. That won’t happen, so the Camels are pretty much locked in to conclude an impressive debut campaign by taking the #3 seed. Charleston can rest easy after two huge victories against Hofstra this weekend. they will get in comfortably with two freebies over Hampton, most likely as the #4 seed. The Cougars have been trending in the right direction, and will be a tough out in the tournament. Hofstra has totally underperformed, and now needs to beat Stony Brook twice to get in. One win for the Seawolves clinches a berth. The sheer fact that Hofstra has must-win games in Week 9 means this season has been a mess for them. They are a better team than Stony Brook, but I’m not taking anything for granted here. W&M and UNCW are both currently on the outside looking in, despite both having exceeded expectations this season. The Seahawks absolutely have to win both matches to have a chance to get in, and even that might not be enough. The Tribe are in better shape; two wins likely puts them in, although it’s technically not a 100% guarantee. One win would put them at 9-9, at which point it’d be up to fate. All in all, this has been a fantastic CAA season. The league is much deeper than it was a year ago. There is competition at the top, a logjam in the middle of the pack, and 10 of the 12 teams have proven capable of putting up a fight. This will be an exciting final week, and the tournament is sure to be quite unpredictable as well.
  10. What a way to win their first title ever! They decided to dial the drama up to 11, falling behind early before their two impact players all season long brought them back. Nia Christopher scored a bizarre goal that barely crossed the goal line to level the game in the first half, before Phoebe Canoles turned in a delightful Jasmine Hamid cross with 10 minutes to go. Finally, Riley Melendez, the goalkeeper that has kept Towson in so many games throughout her career, had the biggest moment of them all, saving a penalty right at the final whistle. They could go on a volleyball-esque run and win several more titles in a row, but none of them will compare to this one. What a day to be a Tiger!
  11. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    Two more wins on the road against A&T allow the Tigers to keep their hold on first place with just two weeks left in the regular season. After expanding the conference tournament to 8 teams last year, it has been re-compressed down to its traditional 6-team format. With that in mind, the standings look like this: 1. Towson - 12-2 2. Delaware - 11-3 3. Campbell - 9-5 T4. Hofstra and Northeastern - 8-6 T6. W&M, Stony Brook, UNCW, CofC - 7-7 10. NC A&T - 6-8 Elon and Hampton are irrelevant Quite the logjam around that last playoff spot. It’ll be a tense end to the season for half the league.
  12. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    The CAA currently sits 22nd out of 33 conferences this season, which is lower than I expected. IMO, this somewhat goes to demonstrate that the RPI is an imperfect system. The Patriot League sits at 14th, and anybody who knows volleyball would never put the Patriot League ahead of the CAA. Last season, the CAA ended up 19th, and the league is CLEARLY better this season. The conference peaked at 8 in 2015, and has reliably been somewhere between 12-17 since then. In 2021, the league was 12th, but the overall RPI took a hit with JMU’s departure and the entrance of the mediocre Stony Brook and A&T, and the embarrassing Hampton. Campbell was a positive addition this year, and I think the league will rebound and finish above the 19th of last year. As for traditionally strong midmajor conferences, the WCC, AAC, Sun Belt, and Mountain West are always strong. After them, despite its low rating these last two seasons, the CAA is still a relatively well-regarded league, in large part thanks to the strength of Towson. When comparing it to leagues with athletic departments of similar sizes, the CAA outperforms and is held in better esteem than the ASUN, SoCon, Patriot League, Ivy League, America East, etc.
  13. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    Not that this matters at all, but just kind of a fun little circumstance: for the first time in what feels like forever, Towson is not the highest ranked CAA team in the RPI. They moved up 8 spots to 76 this week, but that is still 9 spots behind Delaware at 67. The conference’s overall RPI has steadily risen as the season has gone on; Campbell is on a good run and is up to 111, and Hofstra and Northeastern both sit around 150. This is a pretty big improvement from last year, although still considerably worse than where the conference stood from 2013-2017, when there would consistently be 4 or 5 CAA teams in the top 120. Like I said, this doesn’t really matter at all right now, as no CAA team has a chance at an at-large tournament birth, unlike last year.
  14. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    During a wonderful week for Towson athletics, Volleyball does their part by picking up two effortless sweeps at home. I didn’t even watch these matches; Stony Brook had zero chance of beating Towson, and there was plenty else going on more deserving of my attention than these two ass-kickings. The Tigers now sit at 17-5, 10-2, one match ahead of both Delaware and Campbell at 9-3. W&M, Northeastern, and UNCW are all 7-5, while Hofstra is surprisingly tied for 7th with A&T and Charleston (who are both not good) at 6-6. In my opinion, Hofstra is as good of a team as Delaware and Campbell, but they keep losing. Towson is pretty much guaranteed to get to the last weekend of conference play in first place at 14-2, as their next two opponents are the mediocre A&T and the downright abhorrent Elon.
  15. TigersTigers

    2023 Volleyball thread

    Two easy road wins this weekend at UNCW see the Tigers finish the week in sole possession of first place after 10 matches. A couple reminders here: 1) The regular season is now 18 matches long instead of 16, meaning we’ve just passed the halfway point, and 2) The regular season title is extremely important, as it dictates who hosts the tournament the following year. Towson is currently in a relatively easy part of the schedule, as their next 3 weekends are against Stony Brook, A&T, and Elon. After this stretch they will finish with a tough road weekend at Northeastern, who sits just one game behind them in the standings.

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