Drexel Lacrosse Mid-Season Report

Drexel Lacrosse Mid-Season Report

Even though the weather is just starting to show signs of spring, the Drexel Lacrosse team has already completed the first seven games of this season, which amounts to half of the regular season slate.  There have already been plenty of highs, lows and close calls, but sitting at 4-3 and hovering around the Top 20 certainly has allowed for a positive feeling about this team as they get set to take on the CAA

We sit here today knowing that the boys are about to play Hofstra, Delaware, Penn State, UMass and Towson …….. which brings a certain level of excitement that no out-of-conference game can bring.  So let’s close the book on the first half of the season so we can all get out of our houses and enjoy spring and the CAA contests that are on the horizon.

 

Individual Awards

Coming into the season it was easy to see how the world of lacrosse felt about Ben McIntosh when he was named to the pre-season 2nd team All-America.  However, for him and freshman sensation Cole Shafer, the awards haven’t stopped there.  So far this season the following individual recognition has been passed out:

Tewaaraton Watch List – Ben McIntosh

Week of 2/17 CAA Rookie of the Week – Cole Shafer

Week of 2/24 CAA Rookie of the Week – Cole Shafer

Week of 3/10 CAA Player of the Week – Ben McIntosh

These awards would never be handed out without the positive work done from their teammates, but congrats for the recognition Ben and Cole have brought for themselves and for this program.

 

The Team

With a record of 4-3 you will ultimately find that the team is doing some things very well and some things not so well. 

Stats that look good for the team so far this spring are:

-        Ground Balls:  32.43 gb/game is good for 1st in the CAA and 16th in the country

-        Face off %:  0.638% is good for 1st in the CAA and 4th in the country

-        Saves Per Game:  13.43 saves/game is good for 1st in the CAA and 10th in the country

-        Penalty Minutes Per Game:  2.29 min/game is easily 1st in the CAA

Stats that don’t look good for the team so far this spring are:

-        Turnovers Per Game:  16.29 TO/game is good for last in the CAA and 49th in the country

-        Clearing %:  .876% is good for 24th in the country

Knowing the above better than anyone else, we asked Head Coach Brian Voelker for his assessment of the season so far and here is what he had to say:

“We're halfway through the season, and there are definite positives and also areas we need to improve on.

On offense, Ben has been as advertised.  Cole has had a great start.  Triz has had some great moments, but we need him to be more consistent.  Belka has been solid, but we know he can be better.  We've played a lot more guys on the offensive end, but we still need a few to step up and produce.  We also feel we need to take care of the ball, and cut way back on our turnovers. 

On defense, we feel we have more depth and are playing better as a unit.  Duce has had a really good year, and Houch has covered some really good players and done a great job.  Miles, Markell, Geno, Kiernan, and Root have all contributed.  We've gotten solid play from our shorties, and we've played a bunch of different combinations there.  Cal and Gabes have both been really solid in the net, with Gabes stepping up and winning the starting job.  We need to keep improving as a unit.

Saputo has had an unbelievable year, and we feel Deven and Barnes are really good backups.  

We're 4-3 headed into league play.  I do feel our record could be a game or two better.  The Nova game was a tough one to lose, and I feel we just didn't play well against Bryant.  The real season starts this weekend.  I feel we have the pieces to make a successful run in our league- solid defense and goalie play, really good at the face-off x, and multiple threats on O.  As I said earlier, we do need to cut way back on our turnovers and we need to play hard and be excited for every game.  It's going to be a tough stretch, but I feel we are a serious contender for the CAA title.  It all starts Saturday against Hofstra.”

 

The Offense

Coming into spring coach Ford had to get this offense ready knowing that for various reasons 4 of last season’s top 7 point leaders were not in the mix.  So the new mix of guys is off and running and all they have done is lead the CAA in just about every major category.  While the press should certainly spotlight McIntosh, Trizano, Shafer and Belka, guys like Jared Boudreau, Jules Raucci, Mason Pynn and young buck Nick Valentino have provided the glue to keep things rolling at a high level. 

Stats to highlight the offense so far as follows:

-        Goals Per Game:  11.86 g/game is good for 1st in the CAA and 16th in the country

-        Assists Per Game: 7.71 a/game is good for 1st in the CAA and 8th in the country

-        Points Per Game: 19.57 p/game is good for 1st in the CAA and 12th in the country

-        Man up %:  0.393% is good for 1st in the CAA and 27th in the country

Even with the Bryant second half setback, you feel this team can explode for goals at any moment.  We asked Coach Ford what he likes about the offense when they are working well and what do they need to do to avoid going through rough patches like the 2nd half of Bryant:

“When we draw slides and move the ball well we can be pretty effective.  2nd half of Bryant we could not handle the ball, while 2nd half of mount game we didn't dodge hard enough to draw the slide.  Still trying to put together a 60 minute effort on offense with 10 or less TO's.  Saturday would be a great time to put it together.”

 

The Defense

Unfortunately for Coach Collins and his group, the stats will not wow you, but the stats will not really tell the story either.  The group on the back end has had to endure the loss of 2 captains from last year’s team, infuse several young guys and work though a tough goalie competition.  Through these first seven games you can really start to see this group grow as the senior leaders have established their roles and everyone else has slotted in around them.  Now that the growing pains are slowing fading away, you can see a balanced group that can be aggressive and also hold the fort depending on the situation.  They have also shown the ability to get themselves into the offensive end as long poles and goalies have accounted for 5 points so far this season. 

Give credit to Cal for making it a fight, but with sophomore Will Gabrielsen now entrenched as the starter the D knows exactly what they have behind them, which can also lead to a more even performances.  After the Bryant game we asked if this group could hold a team under 10, and just like that we see a 9-6 win over Mt. St. Mary’s. 

The stats for the D, which will be used as a measuring stick for improvement from now until the end of the season, are as follows;

-        Cause Turnovers Per Game:  6.86cto/game is good for 2nd in the CAA and 37th in the country.

-        Goals Against:  10.75 g/game slots them 6th in the CAA and 45th in the country

-        Man Down %:  0.625% slots them 5th in the CAA and 38th in the country

-        Save %:  0.553% slots the keepers 3rd in the CAA

 

Let’s Bring on the CAA!

 

All you have to do is utter the words Hofstra or Delaware or Towson and you can conjure up plenty of real feelings that you wouldn’t share at the dinner table.  It’s time to put the 1st half of the season behind us, cause let’s be honest, this next set of games is what it’s all about.  You come to Drexel to apart of these games; so everyone plan on meeting in West Philly for a late afternoon affair against Hofstra this Saturday so we can support the boys.  The game between has a new flair to it as the HeadStong Foundation and all the great things they do have got involved and we now have a yearly trophy on the line in what is being called the Hero Bowl, which you can learn more about here:

http://www.insidelacrosse.com/news/2014/03/04/headstrong-announces-inaugural-hero-bowl-march-22