Coaches Corner - Penn State 

We beat Penn St 13-12 in triple OT on Saturday.  It was a back and forth game the whole way.  For the first time all year, we got beat at the face-off x.  I was a little disappointed in our defense.  I thought we fouled too much, and gave up too many unassisted goals.  I was pleased with our effort the whole game, and obviously happy to pull out the win.  Ben McIntosh (5g 3a), Ryan Belka (3g), and Mitch DeSnoo (2g including the game winner) led the offense.  The win takes our record to 7-4, and more importantly 2-1 in the CAA.  We have our final home game next Saturday against UMass at 4pm.  It's an important game for the seeding of the CAA playoffs.

Brian Voelker
Head Men's Lacrosse Coach 

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



Know Your Enemy - Hofstra 

As Lodge so eloquently expressed in his post from earlier this week, it’s safe to say that conference play in the CAA certainly gets every fired up. This fire is fueled by years of hard work by the West Philly’s Finest members going into every game as an underdog and meriting little respect from their conference foes. That’s alright, though, because that’s how we learned who we really were and developed that chip on our shoulder’s that will never go away. CAA play starts this Saturday at Vidas Field against Hofstra and it’s going to be a battle.

Hofstra comes into West Philly also sitting at 4-3 on the season with W’s against Fairfield, Georgetown, Ohio State, and the Fighting Blue Chicken’s a few miles down I-95 S  and recently coming off a tough loss to St. John’s on Tuesday. Rest assured they’ll be looking to bounce back against a conference rival and earn themselves the Inaugural Hero Bowl trophy.

The Pride’s scoring attack is led by Sam Llinares, a Sophomore Attachman who has 23 (11g, 12a) points on the season thus far. His supporting cast is rounded out by several players with 10 or more points on the season, none of which having more than 3 assists. Torin Varn (11g, 1a) and Lance Yapor (10g, 1a) round out the starting attack line and seem to benefit from Llinares quite a bit. The Midfield unit is headed up by Drew Coholan (9g, 3a),  Mike Malave (8g, 3A), and Korey Hendrickson (5g, 3a), each starting all 7 games for the Pride. Kris Clarke is their go-to at the faceoff x coming in at a 54.7% for the year and taking all but 2 draws. Good luck kid…

The defense is backed by Junior Chris Selva (.496 SavePct) who has played every minute between the pipes so far this season. Finn Sullivan (11gb, 8ct), Stephen Satterthwaite (3gb, 3ct), and Corey Caputo (7gb, 4ct) lead the starting defense. A group that boasts a 8.89 GAA. Ryan Rielly (1g, 1a, 18gb, 12ct) heads up the LSM duties and will certainly have his hands full with a couple of middie lines that are starting to turn up the production for the Dragons. This end of the field is probably the strength of their team as they’ve found a way to hold each team they’ve played to 12 goals or less and that 12 coming from Batesy’s very talented Princeton offense. 

4pm game time and 63 degrees on Saturday afternoon. I expect to see a lot of Dragons out there giving a not so warm welcome to the fellas from Longuyland tomorrow.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.