Game Stories

Game story press releases from current seasson

Closing the Book on Penn State 

Held at Vidas Field in West Philly, Drexel welcomed in Penn State over the weekend for a game that turned out to be an epic Triple OT contest won by the Dragons 13-12.  The game featured the CAA’s top 2 scoring offenses and also marked the last time these two teams will compete as members of the CAA.  The boys finished off their in-state counterpart when Mitch De Snoo tallied his second of the game with 46 seconds to go in the third OT.  The win brings the season record to 7-4, including 6 of their last 8, and it gives the Dragons a 4-2 advantage over PSU for their brief time as conference rivals (including the biggest win in the series when Drexel won in the the 2012 CAA semifinal at Happy Valley).

With no chance of seeing them in the CAA tourney, it’s time to close the book on PSU for good and move on to what will be a huge game against UMass next Saturday.

 

The Sunny

Ben McIntosh – You can look up online and find that Ben leads the CAA in goals (32) and goals per game (2.91).  You can dig further and find that he is ranked 10th in the country in goals per game, but also that he is #1 for middies in the same categories.  All of that you can find.  What you don’t know unless you attend these games, is that he also lines up on the wings for face-offs, he plays D like he’s been specialized for that role, and when this team needs a big play, he takes the ball on the right wing and dodges through two PSU defenders and sticks the game tying goal with 1:21 to play in the 4th quarter.  He isn’t flashy, he just plays tough.  He embodies “West Philly Ball” as much as anyone who has played for this program.

Mitch De Snoo – The big lefty Canadian has really come on over the last few games and has given this team some additional offense from a 2nd line midfield.  He’s been a fringe guy for a couple years now, but this game certainly validates the recent playing time Coach Ford has offered.  With 2 goals on the day; his first at the beginning of the 3rd quarter was the best looking of the 2, but Mitch and everyone in attendance will remember that second goal for a long time.  It’s one thing to be in the right place at the right time, it’s another to make it count …… and Mitch made it count.

The Coaches – big praise to the coaches in this one.  The team came out ready and prepared and really dominated the majority of the game.  Even though PSU owned the face offs and had a 7 to 2 man up advantage, the Dragons had 20 more shots and looked like the more aggressive team for most of the game.  After PSU went on a 5 goal run to end the second period, the team regrouped and scored the next 3 coming out of the locker room.  The Dragons thought they had won the game in the second OT, but when the refs made the call that the game would go on, the team never wavered.  In the final OT, Coach Voelker called a great time out which prevented a turnover, and then they promptly inserted Mitch De Snoo’s fresh legs and won the game with his fresh lefty rip.  Great job by the staff in this game.

The Defense – If you only saw the last 5 minutes of the first half you would never think that the D deserved to be in the sunny as they played a very poor 5 minutes.  But if you take away that 5 minute stretch, then you see that the group only allowed 7 goals during the other 70 minutes of lacrosse.  Further, you take away that second period and PSU only had 18 shots during 60 minutes of lacrosse.  Those are great numbers, and what this D is striving for over the course of a regular 60 minute game.  Special props to Tyler Houchins and Miles Thomas for 3 caused turnovers each in this one.

Ryan Belka – A three goal game that included a ton of solid dodging was just what the doctor ordered for Ryan Belka and this offense.  23 points this season will tell you that Belka has been good, but with Jules Raucci coming on strong and McIntosh being a star, the first line has been waiting for Ryan to shake the early season injury bug and get back to the high level of play that made him a first team CAA performer last season.  Not having any more weekday games has probably helped Belka the most, look out CAA if he gets going and Ben stays hot.

Turnovers – Yes, this is in the sunny section!!!!  One game of overall clean play doesn’t mean this team is out of the woods yet, but winning the TO battle 12-21 is a great start.

 

The Dark

Cole Shafer – The youngster would never land in this section due to the dip in production he has seen over the last few games, he is a freshman and now teams are starting to scout him hard.  But freshman or not, when you throw a horrible behind the back pass in OT which leads to a turnover, you get a mention in the dark side of things.  Let’s clean that up young buck.

Nick Saputo - I’m sorry Nick ….. I’m sorry!!!!  I’m not happy with this, Nick is a stud and arguably the best player on this team, but he had an off day.  I’m sure he’ll shake off the 6 for 18 performance and get back to work against UMass.  Even with the off day, his .645 winning % is still tops in the CAA.

Man Down – While the EMO is tops in the CAA, the man down unit is 2nd to last.  A 4-7 performance from the PSU man up doesn’t help things.  Need to get the special teams right for tourney time.

Will Gabes – The Freshman lefty had a tough outing on Saturday with only 6 saves, he’s lowest total for a game this season by far.  The save in the second OT was money, and obviously allowed for the game winner, but Will had trouble seeing the ball and never got into rhythm.  Let’s look for a bounce back performance from him next week.

 

UMass Next

UMass dropped a low scoring game to Towson over the weekend, but are still ranked #16 in the country and have some very impressive wins this season.  If Drexel wants a legit shot of hosting a semifinal game, something that will happen if they win these next 2, then they need to take care of business on Saturday.  Game is at 4pm, so get your yard work out of the way early and come out and support this team as they make the final push for the CAA tourney.

 

 

 

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