This past Sunday James Madison hosted yet another tournament, this time dubbing it the Fall Brawl. With a small lineup of the three current East Coast mainstays, all three record affecting matches were about starting up old rivalries yet again. JMU won the day going 2-0, Maryland was in the middle at 1-1, and Towson came in last going 0-2.
James Madison: there’s not much I can say about this team that I haven’t already. There good… actually they’re damn good. They have talent from top to bottom, with plenty of experience as well. At first when I read the preview for the Dukes it made me chuckle knowing that Ben Sizemore stated, “all of us” in his choice for players to watch out for. There was no laughing on Sunday though. From 1-20, there’s no player on JMU’s roster that can easily be picked as an “easy out.” While I didn’t see much of a set strategy, it didn’t seem like they needed one right off the bat and just let their talent take over. While definitely not invulnerable, JMU proved once again why they are a top level team in the NCDA.
Maryland: Clearly, I have underrated UMD and been too blind to notice it. The Terps are a solid squad with a great strategy, and an even better commitment to sticking to it. Rohan Mittal, Tyler Wieland and Dylan Allred are well known players for Maryland, but guys like #31 Curtis Reybold and #82 Mike Cariello have also emerged as key components for this team. One thing that I hadn’t noticed that UMD does really well until this weekend was the entire teams ability to catch. It keeps them in almost every point, and is the reason why they’re clearly the best team from the East Coast to match-up against JMU at the moment. While I wasn’t sure how to really read into UMDs two losses only coming against Grand Valley at Nationals last year, this tournament provided a much clearer picture for me. I would really like to see the Terps play some teams outside of the East Coast, particularly a team like Ohio State, to see how the two compare.
Towson: While it would be easy to take a look at Towson’s record, especially without scoring a point in their two matches, and say that the Tigers have fallen off, that is not the case. Towson was the least experienced team at this tournament, bringing nine players who had never seen NCDA action before. The lack of experience certainly showed, and the Tigers have a lot to improve on if they want to get back to beating teams like UMD which they have shown the ability to do in the past. However, Towson’s transition game has the ability, in my obviously biased opinion, to be one of the better counter-attack offenses in the league. With TU’s Achilles heel once again being catching, if Towson can somehow find a way to improve on that aspect, they should be an interesting team to watch this season. One incredibly positive note for this team though is that even though Towson lost both matches this point weekend, all nine of the new players stated that they loved every second of it and want more. Even though my team is very rough around the edges at the moment, with attitudes like that I can only see this team getting better with each and every tournament.
Unless anything changes in scheduling the next tournament for all three teams should be the Beltway Bash 2.0 in Towson.