Gauntlet Right Out the Gates

The Dragons have 6 games this season that feature teams that were selected to the IL pre-season Top 20, 4 of them come in the first 5 games.  Just look at this start:

February 15th vs #9 Virginia

February 22nd @ #12 Albany

February 25th @ #18 Nova

March 1st vs Robert Morris

March 4th vs #16 St. John’s

Wow, now that’s a tough start.  Even the one game that looks to be on the easier side, Robert Morris, will be a very tough game.  That’s a young team coming off a winning season and they took the Dragons down to the wire out in Pittsburg last season. 

While this is certainly a very tough start to the season, it also offers an opportunity.  We all know the goal in ever season is to win the CAA tournament and punch the ticket to the NCAA’s, but if the boys could string together some good wins in this early part of the schedule then that could go a long way towards a possible at-large berth if the CAA thing doesn’t happen.


Take Advantage of the Softer Middle Stretch

While the start of the season could be very trying, the next five offer a slightly easier stretch against teams that did not have a winning record last season.  Sure, the first two are on the road against Bryant and Mount St. Mary’s, and 2 others are against CAA rivals Hofstra and Delaware, but these are all very winnable games. 

Depending on how the season starts, these five games could be used to cement a top 20 team or they may be needed to help the team climb out of a hole.  Either way, with Delaware and Hofstra during this stretch, a 2-0 CAA record would be huge no matter how all the other games go.


Some Good Ole Home Cooking           

Last season the Dragons used the West Philly factor to their advantage while completing an undefeated 8-0 record at Vidas Field.  Dating back to the 2012 season, the team has won 9 in a row when they get to sleep in their own beds.  There is nothing quite like playing in West Philly, it’s a situation that the boys have taken a ton of pride in.  Combined with parents, fans and especially WPF, the game day atmosphere has gone to new heights over the last few seasons and it’s great when the team can pull out W’s in front of their faithful. 

Just like last season, winning at home will be essential, but maybe even more so since this is an odd year when only 6 of the teams 14 games are at home.  Take a look at the home slate and make your plans now to attend a couple/few of the games:

Saturday, February 15th vs #9 Virginia @ 1pm

Saturday, March 1st vs Robert Morris @ 1pm

Tuesday, March 4th vs #16 St.John’s @ 4pm

Saturday, March 22nd vs Hofstra @ 4pm

Saturday, April 5th vs Penn State @ 2pm

Saturday, April 12th vs UMass @ 4pm


High Profile Players on the Schedule

Based on the IL pre-season All-American list, the Dragons will face 4 players from the 1st team, 4 from the second team, 3 from the 3rd team and 9 more from the Honorable Mention list.  In short, there is no shortage of story lines in the form of high profile players that the boys will have to face this season.

Leading the list of major opponents this season will be the Tewaaraton Award favorite Lyle Thompson from Albany.  We all saw last season the magic this kid possesses on the lacrosse field, and you have to imagine that he will be ready for the Dragons when they come to town after the Dragons handed him and his Danes a 20-19 loss last season. Set to accompany him will be his brother Miles (3rd team preseason) and his cousin Ty (honorable mention), a trio that will surly represent the toughest task for the Dragons D this season.

Other major players that will challenge the boys this season will be 1st Team attacker Kieran McArdle from St. John’s; 1st Team LSM John LoCascio from Villanova and 1st Team goalie Austin Kaut from Penn State.

According to the IL pre-season list, Virginia will bring the most loaded team as they have 6 players receiving the early season honors (shocker).