A February to Forget

A February to Forget

 

 

 

Forgetful February: Let’s Start the Season Already!

The Facts

            Our Drexel Dragons opened the 2015 season in blizzard in Virginia and the rest of February seemed like a never-ending tempest we never came out of. Yes it’s true we played Albany and we lost, but who knows exactly what happened as again the snow was driving sideways and swirling as if in a shaken snowglobe.

            It was ten times colder when we lost to Villanova, yet at least we could see the ball.

            And although our toes froze, and so did our offense, the Maryland defeat had glimmers of solid lax by our WestPhilly’sFinest team in the first part of the game (4-2 at halftime).

The Ugly

            Drexel lost all four games in February. Going 0-4 is never pretty. Trying to sugarcoat multiple turnovers, poor clearing, innumerable penalties, ball-watching, and scoring 3 measly goals in an entire game is an insult to you our beloved readers and fans. Winter lacrosse is ugly and this season’s start is as bad as it gets.

            This writer believes February lacrosse is a waste of everyone’s time and should be considered preseason, with official games beginning on March 1st. Not just because our squad is winless, either. Think about it, does it really matter if Towson beat Johns Hopkins in 20 degrees on a Tuesday in February when At Large Bids are given in mid-May? Who cares who the best team in the snow is, really?

            Play the first round of the NCAAs on Memorial Weekend, four games back-to-back at 10am/Noon/2pm/4pm and fill a stadium with eight sets of team’s fans on both Saturday and Monday and allow pure lax fans who aren’t related to the players see the top 16 fight it out all weekend to see who makes it to the Quarterfinals that first weekend in June. Play the Semis that second week in June, with the NCAA Championship the third week in June. The College World Series does it. The precedent has been set.

            Plus, financially, ESPN will only have to set up one booth, juggle announcers, and save a ton on airfare by not schlepping all over America to see the top teams crush last second entries.

            We want bigger crowds in person and on TV? Do this and see it done.

The Reality

We’re 0-4 and it’s the first week in March. So what? We win the next five games (against St. Joes, Bryant, St. Johns, Michigan, and Binghamton) or lose them, or split them, or whatever, and we are still a contender for the NCAAs as an AQ (Automatic Qualifier) if we can a) Make it to the CAA tournament and B) Win the CAA tournament. The reality is that February was a tune up for the tune up.

By the way, we lost to four of the best teams in the country. Our Strength of Schedule is currently the 4th most difficult according to the experts at Laxpower.com.

            As mentioned in the prior From the Bleachers getting better each week is the key to sports and this past year’s NFL Super Bowl contestants was the perfect example (at a press conference a reporter actually asked Bill Belichick if Tom Brady was washed up after an ugly loss four weeks into the season). Well, I’m sticking to my story. This year is far from over for the Drexel Men’s Lacrosse Team with 10 games to go.

            Yes it will feel great to win a game. Or games. Or string a bunch together like last season. But the brutal truth is we need to allow this very young team to mature together. Two of the three starters on Defense are new. Two of the three starters on Attack are new. That affects not just the O and the D, but special teams like Man Up, Man Down, and clearing. There is talent on the field and on the bench in West Philly and it’s only a matter of time before they gel. The question is whether it will be this season.

            It took a very long time, over half a century, for Drexel to win a league title in lacrosse, and now that we have tasted success we don’t want to suffer for another five generations. Plus, core pieces from our championship team are still in the Vidas locker room in at least one position up and down the field and in the net.

            Working harder at practice, not pointing fingers, and “doing your job” are not easy tasks, but they are very simple in their basic nature. The upperclassmen absolutely must lead by example. Take more shots, run more sprints, save more balls, watch more film.

            And we fans, alums, parents, and lax nuts who follow the Dragons must not give up hope. Sports are what they are precisely because the underdog always has a chance to win. College lacrosse has more terrific players now than ever, and with the majority of the regular season still ahead there is no way anyone can predict who will peak at the right time, avoid injuries, and get better one game at a time. 

The Next Opponents

            St. Joes has become a good team. They will come to fight with the gloves off.

            Bryant is a very good team, and like Drexel they don’t like playing in the Artic climes and hold a bitter 1-3 record that is meaningless since all those contests were played in February.

            March is here and so, too, is the real lacrosse season.

            There may be icy rain for a couple more weeks, but soon the flowers will bloom and let’s hope our Dragons do the same.

Go Dragons!

Dragonlax Reporter