Player

An interview with a player

Here Comes the Dragons  

We here at WPF are fortunate enough to interact with the players' parents each weekend in the lot and the desire to see these kids succeed is universal.  Thanks to a current Dragons parent, we'll show you just what we are talking about.

 

Here We Come CAA

    We sit in the bleachers and cheer our team. Our loyalty may have started because we were a player once upon a time. Or maybe our beloved kid is on the team. Or it’s our hometown squad. Regardless, a fan is a fan. We cherish the victories. We suffer the losses as hard, or harder sometimes, than the players. Each year the team morphs and we learn to love the new version. This is true regardless of level, be it college, youth, or professional.

    We fans of Drexel Men’s Lacrosse, or Dragonlax as I like to refer to it, are at that time of year when the season has shaped the character, but the results are yet to be measured.

    When we dropped a close one to Hofstra a couple Saturdays ago many of us felt a kick in the stomach. A couple plays here or there might have changed the outcome, but on that rare sunny day in 2014 our guys came up one play per player short.

    A storm hit two days later and we had to face a scrappy Saint Joseph’s team that is having one of their best years ever, on their turf. I think it was their turf, but the damn snow was so deep the only green you could see was when the Zamboni-like tractor plowed the end lines. Who knows what the score would have been on a regular, dry, surface, but it may have been 14-10 either way. We’ll never know.

    What we do know is our players made the plays they had to. Same thing in the driving rain this past Saturday down at Delaware in a hard fought 9-7 Dragonlax victory. Clutch plays in big moments by key players were the difference.

    And now the home stretch of our season is upon us, against some of the toughest teams in Division 1 lacrosse, for the final month, for all the marbles. Plus, a chance to do something no Drexel lacrosse team has ever accomplished; win the Colonial Athletic Conference championship and Automatically Qualify for the NCAA show.

    If I wanted to build a team from scratch this is how I would do it. First I would want a pit bull to control the faceoff X. Then I would want a beast to dominate midfield with a shot you cannot see unless the net moves. Next I would want to surround my beast with guys who had one-step separation moves to draw slides so I could get it to my rocket launcher. I’d need a shutdown defenseman and another longstick to grab every loose ball. Having finishers on the other end to jam it into the net, and draw doubles from behind, would be my request, preferably with a combination of veteran leadership and young bucks. And, of course, I would want a tall lefty in the net with high lacrosse IQ, good hands, and ice in his veins under pressure.

    Dragonlax fans, I just described your 2014 team. This is the team that will face Penn State, UMass, and Towson for a birth in the CAA Playoffs and beyond.

    Who better at the X than Nick Saputo? I wouldn’t trade him for anyone in the country. Period. Same for big Ben McIntosh. Unstoppable shot, plus he’ll hustle end to end to make a play on defense to save a goal—rare in today’s modern lax where almost everyone is a specialist. First step? Jules Raucci leaves guys with broken ankles every game. And Ryan Belka, who was ailing earlier in the campaign, is back to near full strength, which is a boon to our cause because the guy is fast, tough, and can score with either hand. Add Hank Brown, also now finally healthy, who was a top high school All American, and big Canadian Mitch de Snoo, and our midfield O has depth.

    Tyler Houchins doesn’t have the stats, but he has the game. He’s our shutdown man. Ask Tewaaraton finalist Kieran McArdle (1 goal, 0 assists against us in a year he has averaged 5.8 points per game, 52 in total as of today) about T$’s stats. As for groundballs or caused turnovers; who has impressed more than ballhawk machine Matt Dusek?

    Finishing on our end is senior Nick Trizano. His behind-the-back goal in the clutch against The Blue Hens on Saturday was for the ages. Trust me, when he sits in the bleachers with us, someday, that goal will be remembered for a long time. Compliment him with another senior in Jared Boudreau, a scrappy Vermonter who proved everyone wrong by not only making a D1 squad, but also becoming a starter and key element, and we have leadership. A bonus is finding a filthy good Canadian who in a matter of games proved he is a force to be reckoned with. I’m talking about future All American Cole Shafer.

    Supporting players who can make or break a season come in the likes of middies who have to play D, and underclassmen that have to step up immediately at D. Captain Jason Klunder and his brother Jordan, Mason Pynn, Matt Clark, Miles Thomas, Jake Kiernan, and budding star Markel Nelson are our boys who have become men this season.

    But to win any kind of championship, a lacrosse team needs good coaching and a goalie. A timeout that saves a possession is equal to a turnover, save, or great ride. And speaking of saves, how about a Keeper who has made 107 of them so far this year?  He’s fought through his share of adversity since being on campus with an illness that limited him last year and allowed Cal Winkleman to have a yeoman-like year in 2013.  The competition has helped both keepers immensely and so has a list of shooters that begin with Thompson trio and hasn’t gotten any easier. Will Gabrielsen is the man between the pipes in 2014 and with the help of his aforementioned Dragons, they could bring this fanbase the one thing that has alluded it since 1941.  An NCAA playoff berth.

    We have the players. We now have the experience. We have home field advantage these next two weeks. We have the coaches. We have the fans.

    All we need now is the fire. The Fire. Yes, The Fire.

    Let it burn!

- Anonymous Dragonlax Fan

 

Well put.  If that doesn't get you fired up for this weekend's matchup, then I don't know what will.  Alumni Weekend with the Athletic Department providing the refreshments this year, please RSVP if you have not already done so.  Stay tuned as we'll send out an update but my guess is we'll have some more Yards Philly Pale Ale and the tunes in the lot pre & post game to greet our out of town alumni coming in for the game.  Watch online and follow us @WPFLACROSSE

 

 

Captain Interview with Aaron Prosser 

Taking some time out of his schedule, Captain Aaron Prosser gave us his thoughts on a couple of topics for the upcoming 2013 season.  WPF wishes everyone a safe & Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Team Goals

AP: Our 3 primary goals for 2013 are to win National Championship, play in May and win a CAA championship. Last year we were one game away from achieving 2 of these goals. The opportunity to play in the CAA championship was a unique opportunity, which we share with only one other Drexel team. Without a doubt our fuel for the year will come from that feeling of walking off UMASS’s field last May. Just as in 2008 our slogan for the year is to “Remember The Feeling.”

 

Fall/Rules

AP: The new rules will ensure a faster game, the key being no horns. Two-way middies will be crucial this year, as a lot of goals were scored in transition throughout the fall. The new stick rules are a bunch of malarkey, but we can’t do anything about it except adapt.

Overall the fall was solid, for only having four weeks under our belt to adjust to new rules and an entirely new defense, we did well. Our second half of the Penn game wasn’t our best on both ends of the field but that’s what scrimmages are for; to learn our weaknesses and improve upon them.

It was nice to end on a high note with the Navy game. While it wasn’t a complete performance, I think the offense really came together and defensively, we were better poised than during the Penn game. In the end, we established a solid base to build on for the 2013 season.

 

Season

AP: I broke my thumb 3 days before the alumni game, it was tough to go all fall and then not play in the alumni game or scrimmages. The thumb is already better and should be fine come season.

Last year was great for me mostly because of Kyle Bergman’s success. I had the fortune of having a short stick matchup all season and at the end of the day I just had to capitalize on what I was given. The only way to build from last year is to not be complacent, to always be improving and to believe in our own success. Also getting ready for this whole 2-way middy thing will be tough.

I’m looking for another shot at anyone in the CAA. As any Drexel player knows the CAA is full of long standing rivalries. I think right now UMASS is at he top of that list. Secondly, any chance we have to get after Hofstra or Delaware is more than okay. Lastly, while they’re not in the CAA, playing Nova again would be great, especially after last year.

 

 

Best Food Truck on Campus

AP: “The Spot” if your not going to Pete’s for breakfast, the spot burgers are always on point.

 

Great input, bud.  Gonna have to get out to The Spot...shout out to Pete's though...saltpepperketchup?

 

 

Meet a Freshy - Jules Raucci 

 

Jules Raucci is our second interview for our "Meet a Freshy" column at WPF. Jules played locally at Garnet Valley and was a huge part of their recent success in the PIAA. Jules is a super crafty, dodging attackman who broke a lot of alumni ankles this past Friday...Without further ado, Jules Raucci.

Tell us a little bit about your background (where you are from, position, etc):

I am from Garnet Valley high school in Pennsylvania, and I play attack/middie

Just like most of this year's class, you were a highly sought after recruit - what made you decide on Drexel?

I love being close to home and i love the city and Drexel has a very good lacrosse team with a lot of talent so those are some of the things i took into consideration.

How is everything on campus so far? What do you think of living in the city?

Living in the city is awesome, there is always something to do.

What dorm are you staying in and who is your roommate?

My roommate is Mike Barnes from Radnor and we live in Myers Hall.

Fall Ball started two weeks ago -- How is it so far for you?

So far Fall ball has been a good experience, it is a whole lot different in terms of speed from the high school game.

You are a natural dodging attackman, where do they have you playing so far?

So far I have been playing both attack and offensive middie.

Coach Ford, is an offensive guru, what do you think of coming into a division 1 program with a coach like Fordo?

Having coach Ford as the offensive coach has been great. He is very helpful and the fact that he was a very solid D1 player means he has a lot of knowledge to offer.

What are your personal goals for your freshman year?

My personal goals for freshman year is to have the team go as far as we can make it.

What are your personal goals for your career?

I would love to be in and win a national championship in my years at drexel.

In one word, how would you describe the Drexel lacrosse Team from your short experience?

Family

Boom...Family is right. He might not know the difference between a personal and team goal but he sure knows what the program is all about! Welcome to the Family!

For more info on Jules: http://phillylacrosse.com/2010/12/24/mens-recruit-garnet-valley-junior-attackmanmidfielder-raucci-commits-to-drexel/