Drexel Defense - 2012-2013 - Asking the Questions

Drexel Defense - 2012-2013 - Asking the Questions

 

Drexel Defense – Asking the Questions

While the offense certainly has questions that will need to be answered this season, as it looks on paper right now, the group of guys that will make up the defense this season will certainly have the most questions asked of them with all the graduations across the back line.  That said Coach Voelker will be looking to reload and improve upon these numbers:

-          8.75 goals against (4th in the CAA)

-          0.659 penalty-killing % (4th in the CAA)

-          7.12 caused turnovers per game (4th in the CAA)

-          0.509 save percentage per game (7th in the CAA)

Despite the somewhat average numbers this team went 6-3 down the stretch last year and had a huge semifinal CAA win over Penn State at Happy Valley and much of the late season success goes to the defense.  This defense had some great games in which they held really good offenses to low goal totals:  ND – 6 goals; Hofstra – 5 goals; UDel – 8 goals, Towson – 5 goals; Umass (the first time) 8 goals.  Now, the question is what does the ’12 – ’13 version of the DU Defense have in store:

Replacing the Long Time Starters on the Back Line

It’s no secret that college teams have portions of their roster that need replacing due to graduation every year, but it’s not often that a collection of 4 year starters like the guys who graced the blue and gold for the DU defense all need to be replaced at the same time.  Dana Wilber (CAA Defensive Player of the Year), Frank Tufano (1st team All-CAA) and Brian Teuber represent 3 – 4 year starters that have moved on and opened the door for new names to fill the voids.  With them gone, the team needs to fill the role of #1 shut down pole, game changing long pole middie and steady and reliable stay at home defender.

Even with the loss discussed above, there is some experience coming back as both Matt Dusek and Tyler Houchins return after having been huge parts of the defensive end over the last 2 seasons.  The question for them will be: How well will they transition from being the role guys to being “The” guys that lead this defense and get it done?  They both certainly have the skills and athletic ability to do it all on the field, but with several new parts to this D, their ability to transition to the top guys will be their biggest challenge.

The back line will also get a boost in both leadership and knowledge of the defense with both Captains Chris Walsh and Garrett McIntosh.  No surprise here with Walsh as he has been a solid situational defender for this group for the last couple years and he should make a smooth transition into larger overall role with the defense.  It’s the addition of Garrett to the back line that will surprise some people.  Although the coaches are saying it’s not a wholesale move and depending on the matchups he could easily be out there with a short stick, but the big boy from BC has a long pole in his hand again (was a pole in HS) will certainly add some size, strength and hitting ability to the back line.

Lastly for down low, highly recruited Chris Panichelli has shown in the early going that if he continues to get the strength and learn the finer nuances of a college defense that he could help this unit sooner than later.