Interviews

Player, coach and/or alumni interviews

Albany 

Rodger Lodge was having some internet problems on the set of "Blind Date" so he asked me to post this for him today...enjoy.

 

Happy Friday Compadres,

 

Wow, take a look at that picture. Nothing says I am ready to battle it out on the lax field like some nappy dreads… Yes that is one of their players, his number is 45 and he loves Jamaica. Why not right? Albany is kind of like Jamaica in so many ways…Coach Marr, you might want to talk to your boy about a haircut. Not that anyone would draw any stereotypes here…

In gearing up for a monster match up tomorrow for our Drexel Dragons I wanted to spew some hate towards the Albany Purple Puppies.

 

In recent years the Albany-Drexel matchup has always been a good one to watch. It is rare for one team to win 2 or 3 years in a row, which of course, turns into a heated battle year in and year out. And look at that the series is tied at 5’s right now. Looks like Drexel has to be the one to go 6-5 in the series.

Looking back at last week Drexel and Albany faced similar opponents with similar outcomes, losses. Albany lost to a Syracuse Team that lost a few bodies but at the same time, a team like that has 3-4 guys just as good waiting in the wings. My take on this is that Albany is not very good. Syracuse-Albany should be a 2 goal game at most due to the geography of the rivalry and the fight for the JUCO transfers that both teams get. Joe Resetarits, Ty Thompson, and Lyle Thompson accounted for all of their goals. In my personal opinion I was utterly let down by the talent level of the one Thompson last year. Well, let me be clear I was actually amazed by the one Thompson last year, who was about 5 foot tall and 300 pounds and managed to stand up in the goal for 3 quarters after they pulled their Long Island Boy. This is not the Thompson I was referring to; instead I was referring to the midfielder. Gotta say it, didn’t see much happening there. I was expecting to see some “armadillos” maybe, or even some traditional wooden sticks, but maybe I was expecting too much. Regardless I didn’t see what the hype was all about with any of these guys thus far. Maybe they will prove me wrong but with our Defense playing the way they did last week, this should not be an issue for Frank T, Dana, Teuber, or anyone else for that matter. I will say Albany will be held to 7 goals in this contest.

 

As for the defense…umm let me think, yeah, defense doesn’t matter. For a high profile celeb like myself it’s all about the glory, so why even talk about their D. No one cares. They are defensemen for Albany, I mean seriously. I think Churchy goes on a run for 3 goals, Belker has 2, Glynn 2, Bergs and Stock 1, Pross 1. That would make a score of 10-7.

 

The URL for the webcast is as follows: https://www.nmnathletics.com/PremiumVideo.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=15800

 

It looks like it costs $10.00 for the month, which means 10 bucks for this game. MAKE SURE YOU CANCEL. They will probably whack you monthly until you cancel accordingly. Been there done that. If you can't watch the game online, follow us on Twitter @WPFLACROSSE where we'll be posting live updates from the game.

 

By the way, Albany as a city, place, town sucks. You couldn’t pay me to go to school there. Even if I was Jesus Shuttlesworth in He Got Game and they gave me the presents that he got, I wouldn’t go there. I mean seriously, nothing says underachiever like a diploma from Albany…sad but true. Stay cold and in the middle of nowhere Albany. You do you.

 

Heated,

Rodger Lodge

 

2012 Face-off Preview 

Special thanks to fellow Dragon alum Mark Brundage & Coach Collins for the 411 on the face-off crew

 

It’s no secret in the lacrosse world that if you’re going to win close games you need to steal some possessions with wins at the X.  With lofty team goals and an incredibly tough schedule, the group of guys responsible for getting the offense the ball will be looked at and relied upon more than ever.  Over the past several seasons, Drexel has received great production at the face-off X without ever really having that “star” draw man, this season should look similar.

 

Draw Men

 

Leading the way this year will be returning All-CAA Rookie Devin Thomas.  The South Jersey native came in last year as a true freshman and for the most part carried the load while winning almost 53% of his draws.  He is a true FO-GO, and returns this year to lead the Dragons at this critical position as a sophomore with great experience gained from last year.  If Devin can shoulder the load, and raise that 53% up closer to 60%, then the Dragons should be in business this year.  “Devin finished 2011 hot, we hope that he can pick up right where he left off.  Devin will play a huge role in our line up.  He brings a rugged hard-nosed approach to his game that we all love”, said assistant coach Chris Collins.

 

Giving Devin a break, or filling in a bit more if the matchup is right, will be true freshman Nick Saputo.  Nick, a star in high school at both the X and at the offensive end, has shown the coaches some great flashes with his strength and ability to handle the ball if he wins the draw.  He has also brought a very specific face-off mentality and loves to scout matchups and opposing draw men.  “Nick is not only a talented young player, but he is well educated at the face off position, he is a true student of the game with a lot of promise.  Expect to see this 2 man combination at the X in 2012 give teams’ problems.”

 

The last part of the face-off trio will be Ben McIntosh.  Although Ben’s main focus will on the offensive end, he has a clear knack for the X and can be a nice change of pace when called upon.   Ben can present very difficult situations for the opposing team if he wins the draw and forces the other team to leave players on the field that might otherwise sub while a typical FO-GO is subbing.  “Ben, the 3rd man in line will provide depth at a very important position.  What Ben offers us from the X is very dangerous, win the draw and we have an O Midfielder on ready to exploit any mismatch early in the possession.”

 

Wing Play

 

The Dragons bring a ton of experience to the overall face-off with the return of everyone who ran the wings last year.  Leading the way is Preseason All-American and All-CAA long pole Frank Tufano, who has the speed, strength and incredible stick skills that any draw man would love to have on his wing.  If and when Frank needs a breather, look for fellow senior Dana Wilbur to hop up fight for the ball.  With the pair available to coach Voelker it’s safe to say the wing long pole position is covered.

 

Like the long poles on the wing, the Dragons have an array of experienced short sticks that can play an effective wing.  Seniors Andrew Collins and Chris Farquhar not only give the Dragons great wing play, but they can handle defensive duties and offer ligament offense if a break presents itself.   Also available for wing play will be Ben’s older brother junior Garrett McIntosh and sophomore Jason Klunder, both are guys who played plenty of defensive middie minutes last year as well as spot duty on the wings. 

 

Coach Chris Collins had this to sum up the wing play; “We really like what our Transition Group has to offer, not just on the defensive end, but in the offensive end as well.  Frank, Dana, Drew, Garrett & Chris have accounted for 27 points in the last 2 years.  We ask this group to generate offense every time they can.”  Let’s hope they get that trend started early and often for the 2012 season starting on Saturday.

 

2 days…

2012 Defensive Preview 

Special thanks to Dragons alum Matt McCormick for putting this preview together and captain Dana Wilbur giving us a little insight as well...

 

After a frustrating season last year, the boys are ready to get started and eager to demonstrate their strength and maturity on the way to playing in May.  With one of Drexel’s most talented & experienced bunch of seniors leading the way, the Dragons will be ready to take on a schedule full of top 20 opponents…

 

The close defense will be strong with senior returners Brian Teuber and Dana Wilbur being the primary communicators down low, with an up-and-coming Matt Duesek stepping into the roll of the third close guy to round out the bunch. “Experience and continuity” were the recurring themes that both Tueber and Wilbur spoke of.  Both of them have extensive playing time under their belt and are ready to lead the defense in front of Mark Manos, a steady force in cage, and will help facilitate the communication.  “Everyone is on the same page this year” says Tueber.  “We have a certain continuity that wasn’t there last year.”

 

The defense up top is just as strong with the returning experience and athleticism of Frank Tufano as the LSM, and Drew Collins and Chris Farquhar as the 1st line d-middies.  The three of them combine to create a defense that can quickly get up the field and create a ton of transition opportunities with Manos’ clearing ability.  “When we get the ground balls cleanly, we can create in transition” says Tufano.  Though admittedly one of the units’ weaknesses is getting that GB the first time, but when it happens, it should make for an exciting run up the field. 

 

The settled clear, however, is a continued strength of the Dragon defense with few teams being able to stop ‘Twister’.  “Our settled clearing game is great” says Wilbur.  It is a difficult scheme that creates mismatches every time, and forces the opposition to either leave someone open and double to ball, or cover all the “clearers” and leave only one guy for the shorty to burn.  With the D-mids that we have, teams will have to double or else watch these athletes streak up the field practically untouched. 

 

Our other shorties on the D end include Garret McIntosh and Jason Klunder, both of whom have some time under their belt.  McIntosh has been playing well after battling a few nagging injuries last year, and appears to have his speed back up as well.  Klunder is a local product who has found the game to slow down a bit after making the transition to college ball last year.  He and McIntosh together make an excellent substitute for Collins and Farquhar, two of the nations best and most under-rated D-mids

 

Look to see both Chris Walsh and Tyler Houchins to get runs as the 2nd and 3rd poles, with each bringing their own strength to the field.  Houchins brings a bit of havoc to the field with his strong on-ball skills and crafty stick checks.  This is always nice as it makes the opposition think more about the defense than what he should be doing.  Walsh on the other hand has seen playing time every year and has been an asset on the man-down unit.  He can step in as a strong link in the D, communicating as well as the starters and ready to scoop up any loose ground ball that comes his way.  

 

With the boys “eager and ready to win”, the tempo in practice has also increased from a season ago with guys playing well day in and day out.  The mindset, determination, and sour taste from last year motivates the team to improve daily and focus on minimizing mistakes.  Though Wilbur noted that “it is important for us to put together that full 60-minute game” to be successful, he still feels they are “experienced, playing together well, and will be a much stronger unit top to bottom” in comparison to a year ago. 

 

There is no better way to measure the teams’ strength then with a home opener against the defending national champs, Virginia.  It would be a great way to start off the year by beating a team of their caliber and gaining some confidence and momentum for the upcoming season.  Look for the dragons to jump in and out of a couple different defensive looks in this game and throughout the season.  The age and experience of the squad allows for quick transitions between man and zone, as well as alternate looks such as ‘Chunk’– a Coach Voelker special.  The days of Baxter leading the D and Bates heading the man-down have come and gone, but the new era of West Philly ball continues our legacy as a scrappy bunch of hard-nosed athletes with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.  Saddle up, men.

 

3 days...