Closing the Book on St. John's and Bryant 

For the 3rd consecutive week the Dragons found a way to win a game, and also found a way to lose a game.  Starting back at the beginning, the boys lose to Virginia then come back to stun Albany.  Then they drop one to Nova only to come back and dominate Robert Morris.  This week the boys came out like world beaters on Tuesday when they handled a good St. John’s team 16-11, then turned around and dropped a second half dud against Bryant on the way to a 12-6 loss.

So here we are, 6 games in sitting at 3-3.  Could it be worse, maybe?  But when you factor in the two one-goal losses it could more likely be better.  Either way, in this year of parity across all of D1, the Drexel Dragons sit right in the middle of it all, which should make for another exciting spring for all who are involved with this program.

There is one more non-conference game to get through, and the boys shouldn’t have an issue with a Mount team that is really struggling this season.  So let’s close the book on the St. John’s / Bryant combo and get ready for The Mount, and the all-important CAA that looms just beyond:

 

The Sunny

Benny Mc – Major apologies to Ben who should have been lauded in last week’s post for his inclusion on the NCAA Tewaaraton Watch List.  His name being on this list is a major individual accomplishment while also providing great recognition for the program.  The amount of goals he has put up over the last 20+ games is staggering, and it’s even more impressive when you factor in that he is doing all of this from the midfield.  And to reward the Tewaaraton committee, Ben has a combined 10 goals and 4 assist in the three games since being noted on the list.

 

A little Sunny, A little Dark

Since the team did split this week, looking very good on Tuesday and then not so good on Saturday, we’re gonna just unload the notebook with thoughts from the week that was.  Note that this writer saw the St. John’s game and tried unsuccessfully to watch the Bryant game, so thoughts might be skewed toward the mid-week game:

-        Nick Saputo won 36 of his 52 draws this week, good for almost 70%.  The season he is putting together is very impressive thus far. 

-        There hasn’t been much said about the D this season, but several D guys had their moments to be noticed in the St. John’s game:

o   Senior Matt Dusek had 3 caused turnovers (6 caused TO for the week) and 4 ground balls and could be seen running up and down the field making plays.

o   Sophomore Miles Thomas had 2 caused TO’s of his own (3 total this week), one of which resulted with an assist to Nick Trizano on the ensuing fast break.

o   Senior Tyler Houchins had a matchup against a preseason first team all-american, and all he did was hold McArdle to a single point.

-        Jules Raucci has started to settle in with the first line midfield nicely.  The split dodge is looking as dangerous as ever, the difference now is how he is trying to get somewhere to capitalize on that first step rather than fade out and away.  A steady point production from him could go a long way.

-        Shafer had his first subpar performance on Saturday when he only mustered 1 assist – HOW DARE HE!!!! – of course he stuck 5 on Tuesday so I guess we’ll call it even for him this week.

-        Nick Trizano will get you 4 points minimum every game and make a “man” play or 2 in the process.  What a steady producer he has been over his entire career.

-        Nick Valentino followed up his break out performance against Bobby Mo with a goal against the Storm.  He’s looking to lock down 2nd line minutes

-        Speaking of second line minutes; Hank Brown, TJ Foley, Mitch de Snoo, Mason Pynn and Jordan Cunningham all have work to do if they want to make it hard on the coaching staff to continue to use 2 lines.  Different combo’s have shown flashes, but more consistency across the board is needed from this group.

-        On Mason Pynn side note, he was out there for a share of D mid runs and looked very strong with his low, stout base.  He added at least one caused TO during his minutes.

-        It looks as though the goalie competition has at least taken a timeout as Gabrielsen started and finished both games this week.  He had 26 saves on the week and looked strong in the Red Storm game. 

-        The D needs to hold someone under 10 at some point.

-        The O ran into a hot goalie on Saturday as the Bryant keeper had 12 saves on 26 DU shots in the first half.  Not sure what happened in the second half, but the O only mustered 12 total shots, 6 of them were saved. 

-        Easy to nominate the second half of Bryant as the low point so far this season.

-        22 turnovers in a win over St. John’s, 10 turnovers in a loss to Bryant ……. You figure it out.

-        If you have to watch the games via live feeds, this week at it all.  Drexel rolls out their great feed on Tuesday, but the mic is set up so you can hear everything the fans are saying.  It was well documented on twitter just how horribly annoying the St. John’s parents were from start to finish, thankfully the boys won.  Then Bryant try’s on Saturday to show their team to the public, which was an epic fail.  Just work or don’t work at all, don’t tease us with bits and pieces here and there.  It became so frustrating to watch, and much worse in the second half when we realized how the score was turning out.

 

Up Next

At Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday at 1pm.  Hate to count chickens, but the boys should get this one.  Let’s hope they use it to work on things and get better. 

Know Your Enemy - Bryant 

Saturday, March 8th, Drexel heads up to Rhode Island to face a very good Bryant team.  Bryant is fresh off a heartbreaking 9-8 loss to #12 Yale.  The Bulldogs lost to the… Bulldogs…… despite a huge comeback effort.  Bryant sits just outside the top 20 receiving votes.  Be clear this is a very good team.  Earlier this season they beat #14 ranked Bucknell by a convincing 12-9.  So what are their strengths?

The offense seems to run through three guys; #13 Sophomore Middie Collin Gantz, #11 Senior Attackman Dan Sipperly, and their top scorer #10 Sophomore Attackman Shane Morrell.  For the most part their goals are coming from a wide variety of people.

Bryant’s faceoff guy Junior Kevin Massa has been good and consistent.  He boasts a 60.5% win percentage winning 46 out of 76 on the year.

The real story is their defense and more specifically their goalie.  Their defense has held teams to an impressive 7.5 goals per game.  Their Sophomore goalie Gunnar Waldt (real name) is averaging 14.85 saves per game and has a massive 66.3% save rate.

So this is a good team coming off a tough loss to a top 20 team at home.  Logistically they are similar to Villanova on paper with a strong faceoff guy and goalie.  It doesn’t get much more exciting than that!  This is a huge game!  There is a free live stream from a link on the Bryant Website.  http://necfrontrow.com/webcast.php/BRY-1423/  Go Dragons!!!

Coaches Corner - St. John's 

We beat St. John's 16-11 on Tuesday.  Our offense was really clicking, especially in the second quarter when we scored eight goals.  Cole Shafer (5g), Ben McIntosh (3g 3a), and Nick Trizano (3g 2a) led the offense.  Nick Saputo was on fire, going 22-30 on FO's.  Will Gabrielsen made 13 saves and had an assist, and Tyler Houchins and Matt Dusek helped hold their high scoring attack in check.  We travel to Rhode Island to take on Bryant on Saturday at 1pm.

  
Brian Voelker
Head Men's Lacrosse Coach