Closing the Book on UAlbany

Closing the Book on UAlbany

 

Closing the Book on Albany

 

The setting was typical for this time of year, cold and a bit of rain marked the day and a good but not great crowd dotted the stands for the home opener at Vidas Field yesterday.  This game, however, was anything but typical as the teams combined for 39 goals and the boys in white pulled off a huge 20-19 win in an epic type contest. 

 

Although the recent history of this series has been dominated by the Dragons, the Albany squad that came down the Northeast Extension for this game was coming off a huge upset win over Syracuse and brought plenty of confidence with them.  Lead by the Thompson attack trio of Lyle, Miles and Ty, Albany came out of the locker room screaming like they were ready for a battle and kept that energy going as they absolutely dominated the first quarter of action.  Plain and simple, the Danes looked scary good, but what started as a possible blood bath turned into a memorable win as the Dragons came back after the 7-1 first quarter deficit to score 19 of the next 31 goals (19 of the next 31 goals is a funny line to write) to win the wild season opener in West Philly.

Lots to get into with this one, so let’s close the book on Albany and move on to Nova.

The Sunny

 

The Offense

When you score 20 goals you most certainly get the first mention in the sunny side.  Our offensive studs endured what the Thompson’s were doing early and came back to put on a clinic of their own, and they did it with a flat out relentless attack.  To be fair, the start of the game was anything but a clinic, and the offense struggled with their early shooting and also seemed out of sorts while trying to adjust to Coach Ford’s move to give Vivian the nod on the starting attack.  As the game went on, the move to start and leave the sophomore at attack, which moved Belka back up top, proved to be the coaching move of the day.  Once Vivian got over the early game jitters and he settled into his ultimate role as a facilitator, the midfield thrived and the O became unstoppable.  Moving Belka back up top gave Ford a 4 man midfield that he used to run downhill at the Albany defenders all day.  Prosser, Trizano, McIntosh and Belka scored 14 of the teams 20 goals, and they did most of the damage in 6 v 6.  This is borderline unheard of in the new up-tempo game of lacrosse that wer’e now seeing.  The 4 of them, combined with Church and Fusco, showed so much confidence and swagger, that the ‘85 Bears were not going to stop these guys.  Superlatives could go on and on for days with these guys, let’s just hope the goals continue.

 

Gabrielsen

Not too often will a goalie let up 19 goals and find themselves on the sunny side of things, but this game was never about the goals that he was letting up, it was about the saves he needed to make a the right times.  With the game quickly at 7-1 and the Albany offense still coming in high gear, the freshmen goalie started to settle into the game and made a few crucial saves that help prevent this thing from getting out of control.  Of the 19 saves he made on the day, 12 came in the 2nd and 3rd quarters when the offense was staging its furious comeback.  With Albany down by one and on the man advantage, Will came up with maybe the play of the day as he got down low on a hard shot by Miles Thompson to make the save.  For his second standout moment, the kid made his 19th save of the day with :05 on the clock to preserve the win.  On a day when it was tough to be a goalie (shameless WPF plug), the kid held it together and made some difference making saves when the team needed it most.

 

Toughness Plays

We’ll talk more about the first half effort below, but in addition to the offense and goalie starting to get into some rhythm, the overall “toughness” of the entire team had to change if a comeback would be in the works.  Two plays changed the course of action from a toughness standpoint: 1. With 30 seconds left in the first half Albany put the ball in super stud Lyle Thompson’s stick and had him dodge 1 on 1 vs. junior Tyler Houchins, but the Albany O would not get #11 on the board as Houchins not only posted him up, but got him down to the ground and aggressively got the ball out.  It was a great way to end the half.  2. Coming out of the locker room to start the 2nd half, sophomore Nick Saputo, who had a battle on his hands at the X all day, won a tough draw and proceeded all the way through a converging Albany defense for a perfect tough guy goal that started the 9 goal 3rd quarter.  Those 2 West Philly Ball plays were tone setters that led to the second half performance where everything was challenged by the boys in white.

 

WPF

Shoutout to the Alumni who came out to this one with energy and a bunch of new pullovers to show off.  While the constant sirens from the West Philly streets do their part to create the home field advantage, the group of guys that make it out to these games to root for this team with serious passion and certainly made their presence known.  When the Albany team came down to the WPF corner to do their pre-game stretching and look over with a team rehearsed cheer for the Finest, then you know we’re in their head from the start.  Kudos.

 

The Dark

 

The Start

Truth be told, this was tough to watch early.  The way the Albany attack danced around the offensive end was downright scary.  But the early deficit can’t be put on just the D as the offensive did little to help the early dominance.  Every DU dodger got pushed exactly where the Albany D wanted them to go and the shooting allowed for the freshman goalie to make some early saves that lead to Albany breaks.  Throw in the fact that the Dragons lost the first half ground battle 22-14 and it just didn’t look good.  Let’s hope these early game deficits start to become a thing of the past.

 

Offensive Depth

All fall and early season we touted out names like Raucci, Cunningham, Brown, Foley, DeSnoo and Simeon as guys who could help this offense.  Although Brown has had an injury to deal with (and maybe others are struggling with injuries as well), none of those names have been able to make an impact so far this season.  As discussed earlier, the 4 man first midfield was able to carry the load during this one.  But can Coach Ford rely on that all season without help from this group?

 

Tweets of the Day

@WPFLACROSSE – ran art museum steps x 10 with 20 push-ups in between.  3 eggs (one yolk) on wheat, wrote a chapter of my novel, what’d @QKessenich do today?

 

@HeyJude1717 “Belka all by himself, Drexel on the board again.  10-9 Albany.”  F*^K yeah!  Literally sitting here yelling at my phone.  #DU

 

@RayRev41 – all over their goalie Blaise.  What a dumb name.

 

@johnciavarelli – Frankie baby!!!!!

 

@10Stone5 – This is nuts!!!!!

 

@WPFLACROSSE – God loves Canadians!  McIntosh with another makes it 17-15 #yayaya

 

@heyJude1717 – I haven’t followed twitter this closely since national KateUpton day

 

@willmelton – 18 goals???? Is Olivella in net for the Danes?

 

@ScottPerri23 – Getting chills because I’m so pumped up reading your updates @WPFLACROSSE #dulax

 

@JoeWojo8 – at this point I think Pross will be an AA this year.  Heard it here first!!

 

@CoachGallucci – Pretty scary at the end!  What a game 20-19 DREXEL Final!! – Great job fellas!

 

@SeanBrac3975 – DU lax upsets Albany in a barn burner in w. Philly 20-19 #WestPhillyBall

 

@real_nick22triz – Shout out to WPFLACROSSE best fans in the game #rollie-polie-goalie

 

@WPFLACROSSE – every game is won and lost by the players!  It’s always you guys!  Enjoy the win

 

Onto Nova

With a week to prepare for this one, this Main Line rival will come down fresh and ready for a battle.  Let’s hope the guys can put this one behind them and focus on getting a huge RPI type win.  The powers to be moved this game to the 7pm time slot so everyone can finish the work day and come out for this one.  WPF will be setting up shop in Landmark prior to this game so everyone is welcome to come meet up and get ready for this rivalry that is always heated rivalry.