Closing the Book on CAA Games

Closing the Book on CAA Games

Mark Brundage breaks down the Dragons efforts this past week that saw them catapult to the top of the CAA standings with 3 huge conference wins along with upping their record to 8-2

 

 

How bout them Dragons?!?!  The boys just wrapped up 3 CAA games over their spring break with style and quickly find themselves 3-0 and on top of the conference.  Two unbelievable comebacks sandwiched around a midweek blowout offered up plenty of PT for non-regulars (well deserved fellas) has put this team in the position they need to be in with a month to go in the season.  There is so much positive to come out of this week, so let’s get into it and then move on to talking about that battle looming with those little kittens from happy valley.

The Sunny

Defense – The clear number one star of the week goes to the boys on the back end as they completely flipped the switch on this season and put up a huge week.  Anchored by new starter Cal Winkelman, this group put in the seasons signature performance when they held Hofstra off the board for the last 30 plus minutes of the game allowing the 3rd OT game winner that started the good vibes for this crucial week.  After a dominant mid-week performance they continued their good play in the Delaware game to seal the 3-0 week.  While all the big names on this team seem to be on the offensive end, the defensive group of Chris Walsh, Matt Dusek, Tyler Houchins along with the midfield of Pat Root, Chris Panichelli, the brothers Klunder, Matt Clark & Garrett McIntosh seem to be growing as a group while continuing to understand their strengths and limitations.  If this team is going to have the success down the stretch that everyone is looking for, they are going to need another moment like the Hofstra outing.  It’s beginning to look like they have that in them.

Studs on Offense – With 3 guys in the top 45 of the country country and 4 in the top ten in points per game in the conference these guys are not letting down for a second.  Ben McIntosh is a stud this season, scoring goals with the ball and his fantastic off-ball movement.  He has 5 game winning goals this season, including the dramatic 3rd OT stinger up on the Island last Saturday.  Churchy doesn’t dodge and doesn’t seem to have the ball in his stick a ton, but he’s 17th in the country in points per game and he finds ways to fill the score sheet in every game.  His diving goal on a broken situation in the 4th quarter against Delaware was a thing of beauty and certainly was instrumental to the huge comeback.  Ryan Belka is much quicker than you think; he can pull it from his left and his right and has been one of the most consistent players on this team all season.  He ripped the tying goal at Hofstra and had the goal to bring them within 1 and the assist to tie it against the Hen’s.  No sophomore slump for this guy.  Captain Aaron Prosser & Nick Trizano have supported the cause with great dodging and timely goals and freshman sensation Frankie Fusco has over 25 points already and has brought so much energy and late game flair to this club it’s not even funny.

 

Riding – Can’t really say too much good about the riding effort over the first part of the season, but the 2 comeback wins this week were marked by huge efforts in the transition D game.  In addition to riding the ball back to set up the last second dodge that drew the penalty in the second OT, it was Benny Mac’s great play to get the ball back and take it in for a rip to make it a 7-5 ball game set the stage for the late game heroics.  In the Delaware game it was 4 second half rides that gave the O the extra possessions it needed to make the comeback.  Let’s hope this effort continues.

 

Shooting % - If you read this column last year you saw this headline in the Dark Side almost weekly.  What a difference a year makes.  At just over 30% and first in the CAA, the Dragon offense is making the most of its chances, which is a credit to the entire offense.

 

New Guys Contributing – If you were at the Delaware game you got a chance to see Coach Ford really test his depth while playing his second midfield for several runs throughout the game.  Coach was rewarded with some solid play from his young players including a crucial goal in the 3rd from sophomore TJ Foley.  Along with TJ, freshman Hank Brown and Jules Raucci played well in the Delaware game, but these 2 tailed what will be the firsts of many goals midweek against St. Joe’s …… no one ever forgets their first.

 

Play at the X – While the overall performance of the draw team is still only average at best; Saputo and his wings seem to find ways to make big plays at the ends of the games.  Leading the way to the 6 goal 4th quarter comeback against the Hen’s was Saputo going 7-9 in the quarter, which was huge, but when you add in the go ahead goal on a forward win and sprint to the cup you get a major pat on the back.  Another play that ignited that 4th quarter was a GB fight in front of the Drexel bench off a draw that was won by Jason Klunder when he decided that the ball was going to be his.  It’s been big plays like these that are deciding games for this team.

Dark Side

Starts – The bad starts continue, not sure what more to say about it.  Again, you will take being a 2nd half team any day, but you just hope a bad start doesn’t cost a big game at some point this season.

 

On To Penn State

Here kitty kitty kitty.  Here kitty kitty kitty.