Blogs

Opening Day 

 

Opening Day

Dearest Alumni and Friends,

We are currently 25 hours from the return of the most cherished spectacle we all enjoy most, Drexel Lacrosse. Tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm our Drexel Dragons will face the Virginia Cavaliers at Vidas Field, 43rd and Powelton, West Philadelphia, PA. To say that I am beyond amplified would be the understatement of the year. West Philly’s Finest will undoubtedly have the greatest tailgate of all time. Seriously, I joke you not, the best of all time, bar none. We have booze, food, and radio vendors all online with us. We got a twitter feed that will be updated accordingly from the tailgate and game. There is sure to be thousands in attendance tomorrow on our field! We are more than prepared to thoroughly lubricate and pre-game for the main event. Get down there early and get ready to ride the wave of excitement.

To be honest, I don’t even have that much hate right now. Let’s be clear I hate the Virginia Cavaliers. I hate their cocksure ACC attitude, I hate first names on their roster like Steele, Tanner, Wyatt, and Rhody (kind of sick name, if and only if, they meant Rhody by what I think they meant it by), I hate that they think they were so effing cool, that at one point they called themselves the “wahoos” – which as I understand it is a reference to a fish that can drink its own weight…I literally hate them with everything that I am. Buttttt, I am more excited than hate filled for once. Lacrosse is back and we get to welcome it in by seeing our boys open up against the defending national champions. 

Is there anything better than pulling into the parking lot on opening day? Is there anything better than hearing the pumping music from the parking lot as you turn the corner? Is there anything better than seeing the WPF Flag waving high in the parking lot? The answer is no. Tomorrow is sure to be one of the greatest days in West Philly’s Finest history. We have done everything we can in order to prepare for an amazing day and we know you will enjoy it!  This is our Super Bowl.

Once 2 pm hits our job is not over. Once the first whistle blows our true calling begins. The boys will need our aid at times during the game and lets be prepared to give it them. Let’s be the loudest and most fun group of alumni this school has ever seen while our boys dismantle the Virginia Cavaliers one quarter at a time. We have learned in the past that UVA always plays for 4 quarters and at times when we had them on the ropes we couldn’t make the knockout punch that was needed. On the other hand, we did achieve this goal once…on one of the single greatest days of my life in Charlottesville, VA we took the field for 4 quarters against a Virginia Cavaliers team, went toe-to-toe with them for 60 minutes and knocked them out when we needed to. We shocked the world and that win could be seen as the win that put Drexel Lacrosse on the national map. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8H-Ke7DOrU .

It’s great to reminisce about that past day but honestly, it’s tired. We need a new signature win, which would absolutely be attained tomorrow if our boys, with our aid of course, can knock them off in the first regular season game of the year. There is no doubt that it can happen, the question is; will you be there to participate in and witness the battle? 

From the Bleachers 

 

 

 

Happy New Years Dragonlax fans!

            We are still riding the highs of 2014 and our first CAA Championship, NCAA birth, and First Round victory. The roar of the crowd in gold is etched in our collective memories forever and should be a confidence-builder for the upcoming 2015 season.

            Every team in every sport asks themselves the same question at the beginning of a season: Who will step up this year?

            When you lose two All-Americans to graduation as well as two of your three starters on defense that query is multiplied. If one of those departing is the #1 draft pick of a professional league then you warrant exponential anxiety.

            We are in an era where youth leagues have spawned a generation of excellent shooters, defenders, and confident players. There is depth as never before seen in college lacrosse, across the board. And our Drexel team is sitting in one of the most competitive leagues amidst the Colonial Athletic Association.

            But do not fret Dragonlax supporters! There is more to be optimistic about now than ever before. What will separate the good teams from the champions? We believe the answer lies in experience, confidence, possession, and goaltending.

            Experience: In short, we have been there, done that. Those of us who have been on the field or in the stands know that the difference over the past two seasons versus prior history has been winning close games. Where in the past the breaks only occasionally went our way (beating Notre Dame in OT in 2010, for instance), now it is common for the men in gold to come away with close victories (Triple OT win versus Penn State, CAA Semifinal versus Towson in OT, and CAA Final versus Hofstra again in triple OT, to name a few).

            Our starting lineup in 2015 returns 6 out of 10 starters. We have two All Americans returning in Captains Ryan Belka and Nick Saputo. These guys are not just great players but they are also leaders. No one would call them rah-rah types yet they carry the flag boldly. Like their Head Coach Brian Voelker, they let their playing do the talking. Belka has been a star since arriving on campus, selected Rookie-of-the-Year for the CAA as a freshman and now with a chance to be a rare two-time All American. Incredible to think that he is still underrated. Look for Belks to not only drive the offense, but also feed his teammates as the 2015 Offense evolves.  Belka figures the pair with the ankle breaking skills of junior Jules Raucci who stepped up big last year down the stretch and created opportunities not only for himself, but his linemates with his ability to create.  Raucci will definitely garner some more attention this year but as a former attackman, he seems comfortable dodging on a pole which will create nightmares for opposing defenses trying to figure out who not to pole.

            Cole Shafer is now a sophomore. On his resume is a 50-point season and game-winning goal in a first ever CAA title for his school. This guy has All-American potential written all over him. His experience will be critical as he gels with two new starters on Attack. New Offensive Coordinator Steven Boyle has his work cut out for him, yet he has experience as a player and coach to get the job done.

            Junior Miles Thomas was solid last season as a starter on D. He wasn’t flashy but was effective all year alongside two stellar senior defensemen. Miles is one who will need to take his game to a new level this year coming back with the most experience down low. Big Jake Kiernan played a lot and made major contributions. Now as a sophomore starter, Jake will be a key component of keeping opposing stars from getting near our net. Likewise, Paul Harrison must go from Man-Down to Close D seamlessly, perhaps taking on the role of enforcer every championship team needs without putting us in the penalty box while doing so. Another sophomore, Markel Nelson, played LSM well so far at a position we will need to replace groundball machines lost to graduation.

            Junior Hank Brown may be our X-Factor this season. We know Hank has a rocket shot and can blow by just about anyone with the ball in his stick, yet this guy simply has to put the ball in the back of the net to replace the dozens of midfield of goals gone to the pros.  He showed flashes down the stretch which will hopefully carry over into this year as someone needs to pick up where McIntosh left off.

            Confidence: Winning close games (8-3 in one-goal games in 2013-14 compared with 4-7 in 2011-12) saturates a program with mental toughness. Drexel doesn’t fear OT, we embrace it. We don’t get nervous as the game clock dwindles, we get psyched. Our Head Coach knows when to call a timeout to change momentum or personnel and puts our guys in the right place at the right time. Winning is contagious and we have the bug now.

            Possession: When talent can be found on every team from UVa, Maryland, and Albany to Towson, Hofstra, Villanova, Bryant, and now Fairfield, how do you separate yourself? You hold onto the ball, that’s how. There isn’t a beast more reliable than our guy at the Face-off X. Saputo may have become legendary in the NCAA win at Franklin Field, but believe it or not we will need even more from him in ’15. His backup Mike Barnes is out on IR, putting more pressure on our star and Co-Captain. This writer thinks Nick will welcome the challenge and dominate.

            The ringers we play, including a returning Tewaaraton winner, can’t score when they don’t have the ball. Nor can they make a run when we snag the ball back after they steal a goal from us. We don’t have time or space to give all the examples of top teams in America and their face-off studs. It’s a given. You gotta have one and we do.

            Goaltending: The Drexel lacrosse program has produced several All-Americans in the cage over the years. Now with a balanced team that can score and control the ball, having a clutch player in the net during this star-studded age of 90 mph shooters with accuracy, a time clock threat, and sticks themselves that hold the ball better, we will need our Netminder to be outstanding. Will Gabrielsen has a record of 16-5 as our starter. When Will plays, we win. His overtime saves against Hofstra, Penn State, and Towson were clutch. He was awesome against UPenn in the Big Show and yet he is perhaps the most underrated player in the CAA if not the country having made 186 saves last year (5th in D1). But making All-American and being a headliner is about what-have-you-done-for-me-lately combined with winning championships. Not that our smooth lefty needs more pressure as a Goalie, but for Drexel to remain a team in the hunt for another CAA ring and deep run in the NCAAs we’ll need Gabes to be among the best of the best.

            Even so, great goaltending includes great team defense. Defensive Coordinator Chris Collins plays a critical role in teaching the new starters on D and DMids to work as one, forcing snipers take shots they don’t like and causing turnovers that don’t always revolve around a save. Collins is yet another unsung hero from last season who must generate Herculean efforts from his Special Forces-like unit.

            Bottom Line; Yes, this is a new season with new players and new issues yet we have the building blocks with experience, confidence, possession, and goaltending on our side. We are the defending champions of the CAA and that in itself will bring an A-game from everyone we play. Who will take their game to the next level from the crew we know and who will come out of nowhere as freshmen or seniors and make an impact? Will it be the California Kids Michael Kay, Jacob O’Donnell, and Joe Rainoldi or Canadians Mitch de Snoo, Jordan Cunningham, and Mason Pynn as stars in 2015? We know Jordan Klunder and Matt Clark will bust butt as SSM, but will they find a way to get the ball in the net (by shot, feed, or ball-taxi) in critical situations when no one expects it? Will Frankie Fusco and Robert Frazee step up to finish with scouting reports blanketing Shafer week in and week out? It will be fun to watch and we are here to cheer them on all along the way.

We know what an epic season feels like. It feels great.

Let’s do it again.  The boys are back on the field against a team they ran off the field last May.  Scrimmage is set for 1pm at Vidas against UPenn.  Looking forward to seeing familiar faces the night before at the Kickoff Event at the Touchdown Club inside Lincoln Financial Field from 6pm to 9pm on 1/31.

           

Go Dragons!

- Anonymous Dragonlax Fan

Lodge is back for the Dutchmen 

Long time Ladies and Gents,

I kind of purposely took a few games off…more like a bunch…because I thought I might be bad luck after the shit show of a loss to the Villanova. As the Lodge posts have gone for the better part of the last 3 years, I simply rip on all of the stereotypes of each team and then I’m about done from there. This year I felt I needed to continue with an opinion piece but make the writing more meaningful in terms of the actual game that will be played on the field. Comon' now folks, we know Delaware is a bunch of state school goons with half a brain cell combined, that Umass is a bunch of massholes who bring their lacrosse sticks to fights, that Nova is the biggest bunch of stuck up, nose in the air…the hate is rising and I’ll get back to the topic at hand.

Hofstra. Hofstra was once the crown jewel of the CAA. They were ranked top 10, they got top ranked talent out of high school, and quite simply they were very, very good. The past couple of years have been somewhat of a disgrace for the program from a historical standpoint. Now don’t get me wrong Drexel does not have any CAA championships or Tournament appearances and Hofstra does…fine, fine, fine understood. But honestly Hofstra has been beaten by their LI neighbor St. John’s, 2 years in a row now, Hofstra DID NOT make the CAA tournament last year, and just overall lackluster. If I were an alum I would be kind of upset about the state of the program. Just pointing out the obvious here Hofstra and by point out, I mean we are basking in your inability to even win the LI battle ground wars or get into your conference tournament. My how the mighty have fallen.

Having rubbed plenty of salt in that wound, let’s move on to the play on the field. No clue about Hofstra personnel. They lost that idiot sorichetti (77 – no clue how to spell his name) who was the best turnover machine I have ever witnessed. I know they have some significant injuries…they probably have names like Vinny and Johnny and Mikey, typical flids, but again I’m not as up on the squad as I could be. If I’m being 100% honest, this game is probably pretty evenly matched but from the sounds of it, Hofstra’s d cannot make stops. Drexel has the ability to pull defenses like that apart but which Drexel offense will we see….up to them…

This is a must win game for either team…CAA is the way into the tournament for both teams as it sits right now. Dragons aren’t going to run the table from here on out (this is me playing reverse psychology and really hoping they do) so they need to pile up the CAA wins as that conference season begins. Every game is do or die with this conference. Hofstra has no shot at an at-large with their inconsistent play this year but they are very good and they are coming into 43rd and powelton with their bad accents and hero sandwiches. I’ll put my money on the boys from the projects in a gritty effort.

Oh yeah did I mention how much I hate Hofstra, with every ounce of my being. I truly do. I posted the parking lot picture from a few years back to remind everyone that a lot of the WPF crew in that picture were on the first Drexel team to EVER beat Hofstra. This program was built on wins like that and the only way to solidify our program in the ranks of the entire nation, is by continuing to move this program forward one hard fought win at a time. Drexel has and always will be a team with a chip on their shoulder. It's engrained in you everyday you step foot on the field at Vidas during your career.

Lodge