Captain Interview with Jason Klunder 

Thanks to senior captain Jason Klunder for taking some time answering a few questions WPF sent to him leading up to the Hofstra game.  It's tough to balance academics & athletics but judging by his answers, Jason is quite the wordsmith and gave us some insightful feedback. 

 

West Philly's Finest:  After putting in three solid years of work for this program, your peers have nominated you for captain of this team. How does it feel to join the exclusive group of guys who have been captain at DU and what have enjoyed the most about leading this group of guys?

Jason Klunder: It’s always an honor being nominated to represent the interests of the team. With a large group of experienced seniors, there is a lot of leadership beyond the captains. The most enjoyable part about leading this team is definitely helping the younger guys on a day to day basis. Especially defensively, I try to give insight to the younger guys when possible.

WPF:  We’re at the mid-point of the season now.  What do you see in this team that makes you feel like you guys can compete for the CAA & the post season tourney?

JK: I think we have one of the most talented offensive groups in the country. When they find their stride they are very tough to stop. However, as the season has gone on, our defense has continued to mature and gel as a unit. If we can put it all together, we can definitely be a team to reckon with in the post season.

WPF: Going back to high school, what was the deciding factor in choosing Drexel over your other options?

JK: Growing up in the Philly area, it was an easy decision to stay in the area. Going to school in the city was a huge attraction, and playing for a great lacrosse program like Drexel was a bonus. My sister was also here playing lacrosse and started a little family tradition here.

WPF:  What do you love about Drexel lacrosse?  Where would you like to see this program headed in the near future?

JK: The tradition being built here has been fantastic. Every year more and more guys are joining the alum at WPF and really showing their love for our team. I know a CAA championship is in our future, and I would love to see this program become an annual competitor in the NCAA tournament.

WPF:  DU has stepped up their uniform game and has been looking sharp all season long.  What's your favorite combo of Lid/Top/Shorts?

JK: The overwhelming favorite for our team is the new matte blue lid and very popular gold jerseys. I also like the combo with the matching blue shorts.

WPF You guys have the Hero Bowl against Hofstra this weekend.  This rivalry has developed into one of our biggest in recent years.  There are a lot of memories for a lot of alums, what has the energy been like leading up to this game? 

JK: It doesn’t take a lot to get the team going for the first CAA matchup of the year. We know how important the second season or CAA play is for our team and where we want to go. Adding on the first annual Hero bowl, there has been a lot of extra excitement about this game for the last few weeks. We had a great overtime game last year against them and I’m sure this year’s game will be very exciting as well.

WPF Best of luck to you the rest of the way.  The entire DU Lacrosse community has your back, feel for a sign off anyway you want.

JK: On behalf of the whole team we really appreciate all that West Philly’s Finest has done over the years and love your support at all of the games. We need your help and backing for the rest of this season and playoffs to really make a run.

 

Spoken like a true gentleman.  Come one, come all and enjoy the atmosphere and the spring temperature after a long winter.  Game is at 4pm at Vidas Field but we'll get things going around 2pm.  Tunes.  Yards Philly Pale Ale.  Baby Blue's BBQ.  Good times as always and it don't cost nothing.  For those of you who can't make it out, follow us on twitter @WPFLACROSSE and watch on Drexel's free live stream.  Let us know how annoying Hofstra's parents are and GO DRAGONS!

 

Lodge is back for the Dutchmen 

Long time Ladies and Gents,

I kind of purposely took a few games off…more like a bunch…because I thought I might be bad luck after the shit show of a loss to the Villanova. As the Lodge posts have gone for the better part of the last 3 years, I simply rip on all of the stereotypes of each team and then I’m about done from there. This year I felt I needed to continue with an opinion piece but make the writing more meaningful in terms of the actual game that will be played on the field. Comon' now folks, we know Delaware is a bunch of state school goons with half a brain cell combined, that Umass is a bunch of massholes who bring their lacrosse sticks to fights, that Nova is the biggest bunch of stuck up, nose in the air…the hate is rising and I’ll get back to the topic at hand.

Hofstra. Hofstra was once the crown jewel of the CAA. They were ranked top 10, they got top ranked talent out of high school, and quite simply they were very, very good. The past couple of years have been somewhat of a disgrace for the program from a historical standpoint. Now don’t get me wrong Drexel does not have any CAA championships or Tournament appearances and Hofstra does…fine, fine, fine understood. But honestly Hofstra has been beaten by their LI neighbor St. John’s, 2 years in a row now, Hofstra DID NOT make the CAA tournament last year, and just overall lackluster. If I were an alum I would be kind of upset about the state of the program. Just pointing out the obvious here Hofstra and by point out, I mean we are basking in your inability to even win the LI battle ground wars or get into your conference tournament. My how the mighty have fallen.

Having rubbed plenty of salt in that wound, let’s move on to the play on the field. No clue about Hofstra personnel. They lost that idiot sorichetti (77 – no clue how to spell his name) who was the best turnover machine I have ever witnessed. I know they have some significant injuries…they probably have names like Vinny and Johnny and Mikey, typical flids, but again I’m not as up on the squad as I could be. If I’m being 100% honest, this game is probably pretty evenly matched but from the sounds of it, Hofstra’s d cannot make stops. Drexel has the ability to pull defenses like that apart but which Drexel offense will we see….up to them…

This is a must win game for either team…CAA is the way into the tournament for both teams as it sits right now. Dragons aren’t going to run the table from here on out (this is me playing reverse psychology and really hoping they do) so they need to pile up the CAA wins as that conference season begins. Every game is do or die with this conference. Hofstra has no shot at an at-large with their inconsistent play this year but they are very good and they are coming into 43rd and powelton with their bad accents and hero sandwiches. I’ll put my money on the boys from the projects in a gritty effort.

Oh yeah did I mention how much I hate Hofstra, with every ounce of my being. I truly do. I posted the parking lot picture from a few years back to remind everyone that a lot of the WPF crew in that picture were on the first Drexel team to EVER beat Hofstra. This program was built on wins like that and the only way to solidify our program in the ranks of the entire nation, is by continuing to move this program forward one hard fought win at a time. Drexel has and always will be a team with a chip on their shoulder. It's engrained in you everyday you step foot on the field at Vidas during your career.

Lodge

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