From the Bleachers

From the Bleachers

 

 

From The Bleachers: Revenge

 

            As promised, if you lay it all on the line, play your guts out every time you step on the field whether for a shift or the entire game, and come through in the clutch, you will earn respect. On Saturday at Vidas Field the Drexel Men’s Lacrosse Team got the job done and today the polls showed their respect, placing us back in the Top 20 where we belong.

            UMass came to play, but our seniors were not to be denied in their regular season home farewell. Not without irony that doing so creates another potential home game; a semifinal contest for a trip to play in the Big Dance.

            How appropriate for senior Jared Boudreau, the tough mighty-mite from Vermont, to rip open the game with back-to-back goals. Likewise fitting for fellow senior Nick Trizano to lead the scoring with another hattrick and an assist. Triz fights for goals like the warrior he is, lowering his shoulder, spinning, diving, all the while being hacked by titanium left and right. Matt Dusek and Tyler Houchins, seniors who spearhead our D, held the UMass Attackmen in check, shutting down the GLE (Goal Line Extended) and playing physical throughout. Duce is a groundball machine, this week picking up a half dozen (6) of them, many of which were in heavy traffic. Houch shows no stats, but if you really understand lax, you saw #33 all over the field, again shutting down our foe’s top shooter. Senior Captain Jason Klunder, similarly, doesn’t have numbers to flash, but UMass’ offense is predicated on pushing the edges from the midfield, and as such his hustle and grit was instrumental in messing up their set plays and motion in general.

            Kudos to Drexel University for honoring these seniors, as well as Face Off man Devon Thomas (who came through for us going 11-15 earlier this season in our epic win at Albany). It was classy to present our seniors with plaques as they stood alongside their loving family members before the game.

            But when it comes to seniors, there is one who stands a man among men. A guy who lets his play do the talking, old-school-style like Johnny Unitas once did (“Talk is cheap,” the great #19 once said before a NFL Championship game, “Let’s just play.”). A player who was All American last season, and will surely repeat that honor, due to plays like these past two Saturdays. Against both Penn State and UMass this senior would not be denied, bulling through multiple defenders to jam the ball in the back of the net at crucial moments as the clock stuck midnight for those CAA competitors. “Big Ben” McIntosh showed them, and reminded us, what Dragonlax is all about—determination and toughness.

            Last year we were 11-3 heading into our playoff game with Towson. We’d already beaten them in the regular season, so it looked good for us to meet Penn State in the CAA Finals. But Towson was hungrier. They were the ones who won the ground ball battle, knocked us to the ground, and didn’t let up until our season was toast. The Towson Tigers left senior Dragon stars like Robert Church andAaron Prosser with heads held low in shock and disappointment as their season, and their careers, came to an abrupt end. Then, Towson went on to knock off Penn State to win the AQ and play in the NCAAs for the 11th time in their history. That should have been Drexel.

            We cannot change the past, but we can rewrite Drexel lacrosse history this year by making the NCAAs for the first time in the modern era (since 1971 when the NCAA took control). This shouldn’t be for posterity, though. We need to beat Towson because we are angry. We owe them repayment. We owe Churchy and Pross and all the other Dragonlaxers who left it on the field over the last 67 years. Towson ruined a great year of ours in 2013 and have bested us 38 out of 45 meetings. Not this time.

            Not this year. This year we are hungrier, tougher, more battle-tested. Our seniors, Coach Voelker’s first class of recruits upon arriving at DU, are not going down without a fight. Viking ships carried “Berserkers” who fought so wildly their own shipmates kept their distance while their madmen tore apart adversaries. Our seniors are doing the same, leading by example. Look at their effect on junior stud Ryan Belka who is again looking like an All-CAA selection, ripping uppers in full sprint against UMass after big saves by sophomore keeper Will Gabrielsen, who quietly now has a 11-4 record in his first 15 starts. Junior Jules Raucci seems to get more confident every game, dictating the opposing teams’ slide packages, and meanwhile finding the net himself when we need it. Fellow junior Nick Saputo continues to be a national leader in Face Offs and Ground Balls. Talk about a gutsy player. And what about freshman Joe Rainoldi running end to end actually playing like a Berserker breaking up clears and getting his first career goal?

            We showed The Fire against Penn State. We threw gas on said Fire against UMass and gained Respect. But now is the time to get mad. Now is the time to play with a bigger chip on our shoulders. Towson took something from us. It’s time to take it back, with vengeance on our bloodthirsty minds.

            To win a NCAA Championship we needed to win 9 in a row. Now that number is 8. But the real number is 1. One game, one mission, to destroy Towson in the stadium named after the legend that let his play on the field say it all. On Saturday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium we have the opportunity to taste Revenge. Drink deep Dragonlaxers!

 

 - Anonymous Dragonlax Fan