Closing the Book on Virginia

Closing the Book on Virginia

sorry for the Virginia "feel", but you can see the highlights of the game here: http://vasp.tv/v/1wpq

 

Even though fans of both Virginia and Drexel had to wait an extra day to this one, everyone who came to Vidas on Sunday was treated to an early season gem of a game.  Fans from both teams filled up the parking lot early and the energy for this action was very apparent.  Unfortunately, the script for this one was similar to the last several season openers as the Dragons played hard to the end but dropped a heartbreaker 11-10.  

We can certainly take more good than bad from this one, going toe to toe with the #8 team in the country will certainly be something to build on.  So let’s close the book on Virginia so we can turn our attention to that team from Albany that waits up north:

 

The Sunny

Nick Saputo – Coming off a fine sophomore season, Saputo certainly established himself as the lead face-off man for this team.  After yesterday, he may have started to establish himself as one of the lead face-off men in the country.  It really cannot be understated how good Saputo was yesterday; going 19-25 for the game and 10-12 in the second half is just dominant.  Nick is not your typically FOGO either, he can handle the ball and will most likely be a common name on the score sheet every week (he had an assist in this one and almost tied the game after a winning draw and push with 15 seconds to go).  Its nice to know that there is depth behind him, but if he can play that good game in and game out then this team will have a chance to win every game.

Trizano – Similar to the start of the season 2 years ago, Trizano started at X and was major player in a 1 goal loss to Virginia.  His strength and confidence was on full display in this one as he carried the O early and was able to get the 10th goal late.  On the 10th goal (his 4th of the game) he pushed up from behind the goal and when two Virginia defenders converged on him, he plowed through knocking both Cav’s to the ground as he then turned and fired.  He was fun to watch at midfield last season, but it will help having him on the field for 60 minutes a game this year. 

Cole Shafer – You can’t come in as a red-shirt frosh and “replace” Churchy, but if you have to try, then scoring 4 goals in your first game is not a bad way to start.  While Cole is not the biggest of guys, he can flat out shoot.   With several different shooting angles, he was letting the ball fly from all over that right side of the Drexel offense yesterday.  When he had a chance to set his feet it was lights out.  Look for #15 to make a nice 1-2 punch with Triz all season.

Markel Nelson – On a day when the defense as a whole looked good and most of the guys had pretty good games, we need to give major credit to freshman Markel Nelson for stepping in on day 1 of his career and making an impact.  The 6-foot lefty from Ontario showed a physical side during the course of play and never looked phased in the clearing game.  He looked good preseason and that play has clearly earned him early playing time, good luck to him in making that position his for good.

Winning Stat Day – Its hard to lose a game like this, but when you go to the stat sheet and find that you were a leg up in every major stat category, it makes it even tougher.  That said, if the boys can continue to win the shot, face-off and ground ball battles then they will win most of the games played.

Comeback Kids – This 2014 team really tried hard to continue the comeback theme used by last years team when it staged some late game excitement of their own and almost pulled this one out.  After Virginia scored with 6:10 to go to make it 9-5, all three phases of this squad stepped up.  Saputo won the faceoffs, the D held the Cavs off the board for almost 18 minutes and the O made the most of their chances putting up 4 in a row when it mattered most.  In the end, the comeback came up short, but it was great to see the same fight that we saw last season from this group.

 

The Dark

Losing Streak at Vides is Over – As highlighted in the preseason, the Dragons had won nine straight at home and had the #8 team in the country on the ropes with a chance to make it 10 in a row.  It was a great game and they get a chance to start another home winning streak 2 weeks from now when Robert Morris comes to town.

Turnovers – In a tight one goal game it comes down to a play here and a play there.  Unfortunately for the Dragons, there will be 19 plays that will be scrutinized within that locker room as they look to learn from this one and move on.  Losing the turnover battle hurts and I’m sure that will be a point of emphasis during the prep for Albany this week.

Midfield Scoring – Not a glaring “dark side” item as 6 of the assists came from the midfield, but the group as a whole will need to do a little more going forward to help provide some balance with the attack scoring.

 

Up Next: Albany

Check back during the week as we get you ready for the highly anticipated rematch with the Great Danes of Albany.  I don’t think either side of this one has forgotten about the epic 20-19 won by Drexel last season, should be another great battle up in Albany this coming Saturday.