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Dana Wilbur Named CAA Player of the Week 

Philadelphia - Drexel's Dana Wilbur (Penn Yan, N.Y./Penn Yan) has been named the Colonial Athletic Association Men's Lacrosse Player of the Week for the week ending February 19. It is the first player of the week award for Wilbur in his career.

Wilbur, a defenseman, had an outstanding day as the Dragons opened their season with a 9-8 loss to Virginia, the defending national champions. Wilbur had the unenviable task of covering Steele Stanwick, the 2012 Tewaaraton Award Winner. The Drexel senior kept Stanwick without a point for just the fourth time in his career and held him to just two shots. The defense played well for most of the game as the Cavaliers scored just three goals in the first half and had to rally for two goals in the final eight minutes to leave Philadelphia with the victory.

With the loss to Virginia, the Dragons are 0-1 this season. They face Albany on the road Saturday at 1 p.m. The Great Danes opened the season with a 12-7 loss to eighth-ranked Syracuse. 

 

2012 Offensive Preview 

 

2012 Offensive Preview

Special thanks to Coach Ford & Mark Brundage

 

The Drexel offense comes back this year after losing only one player to graduation, but that was the 2011 CAA Player of the Year, Scott Perri.  Gone are Perri’s 67 points, which accounted for an amazing 26% of the entire Dragons offense, but the Dragons offense still goes into this season with lofty aspirations.  Helping to ease the loss of Perri will be the return of 5th year senior Kevin Stockel, the 30 point midfielder from two years ago who is back after missing last year with a knee injury and by all accounts have him feeling 100% healthy and ready to roll.  Stockel, plus the addition of some freshmen who look to contribute right away, have offensive coach Conor Ford ready and excited for the 2012 season.

 

The team is entering its 3rd year with Coach Ford pulling the strings, “We’re going to be real diverse,” Ford said, “we'll have the simple formation offense, but you’re also going to see multiple motions that utilize our dodging ability up top and our finishing ability down low.”  One thing that’s been consistent since Conor has been here is that the ball moves around fast and on most possessions everyone seems to touch the ball, “We know we're playing our best when we have a high assist to goal ratio, which will always be our calling card.”

 

The Attack

 

This unit featured 3 of the top 4 scores on the team last year and returning to torture opponent goalies will be the Canadian scorer Robert Church (27,21) and lefty sniper Brendan Glynn (23, 6).  “Brendan has done a great job getting himself into top shape this season and it will be interesting to see how it affects his ability to dodge”, Ford said, “Church has had some ups and down during his rehab back from a broken leg, but if he can get to where we all know he can be, he’ll be talked about on a national scale.”  Joining them to round out the starting unit will converted middie Nick Trizano (19, 5), who has been a scorer for the Dragons from up top the last two years but now goes back to his natural position on attack where he put up absurd numbers in high school.  “Nick has looked real good adjusting to the move back to attack, and maybe he doesn’t have the all-around game as Perri did, but his run at you dodging style has been great to see so far this spring.”

 

The challenge for the group will be if they can provide enough dodging within Coach Ford’s scheme.  Church & Glynn tend to be at their best when others create for them and Nick, who will assume a similar role to what Perri was last year, will be adjusting to his new role at X to start the season.  If this group can provide enough dodging and find good locations to get their shots off, then the sky is the limit.

 

Helping to provide depth will be junior Kris Franklin (4, 1) and red-shirt freshman Andrew Vivian.  Franklin has the skills & the shot to be an impact player when he is on and Vivian offers a player who can go out and handle the college game.

 

The Midfield

 

The depth and diversity of the midfield will be on display this season as the unit will look to push out two balanced lines that can get to the cage from up top or inverted.  Senior lefty Kyle Bergman (19, 11) and Kevin Stockel highlight this group as their energy & flow will bring a ton of excitement to Vidas Field this season.   After the scrimmages it appears that Coach Ford is looking to bolster the top two lines with the seniors to keep a balanced rotation.   Don't be surprised to see them out on the field together at the end of the game or when the team needs to get a quick hit.  ”Berg’s has the pace to put pressure on any defense and when he is playing with that high motor the whole offense looks a step better.  Stock is really starting to look like he trusts that knee again, look for him to provide a huge amount of leadership with the two young Canadians.”

 

Joining Bergman will be Aaron Prosser (3, 1), an athletic dodger who has battled through some nagging injuries in the past but has the game to be a 20+ point producer if he can stay healthy.  Freshman Ryan Belka, a highly touted player from Maryland, has looked every bit of the part through the fall and early spring.  All three guys on this line can dodge and shoot the rock, look for all of them to be put in dodging situations depending on the matchups.  “Aaron looks the part of a D1 middie at 6’-1” and 210 pounds, if he can get totally consistent he may be able to change the game as well as anyone we have.  Belka offers so much to this line as he has the D1 stick and lacrosse IQ of a senior, his easy transition to the college level has been a huge bright spot for us.”

 

With Stockel will be a couple Canadians who should complement each other real well.  Sophomore Ben McIntosh and First Team All-Name freshman Mason Pynn add toughness and goal scoring creativeness that will allow this line to be very tough to defend.  All three of these guys go hard to the goal and can create for themselves, but the challenge will be if they can be patient and wait for the best shot.  Either way, these two lines offer Coach Ford 6 guys that can put the ball in the net, depth that hasn’t been around the DU midfield in a while.  “Typical of a Canadian, Ben favors his right, but what he offers the most to this line is his ability to move off ball, when the first part of the scripted offense is over and the players have to free-lance, he is at his best and constantly finds some open space.  Mason, much like Belka, has come in and shown he can be a D1 player from the get go.  Atypical of a Canadian, he can go with either hand and brings a ton of strengthnchor and physical play at the midfield.”

 

Looking to challenge for minutes will be two freshmen in Cliff Simeon and Mitch DeSnoo.  Cliff is a raw athlete who can get up and down the field while Mitch is a big lefty Canadian who can really let it loose with time and room.  Look for them to get crucial minutes as the season progresses.

 

4 days...

 

Three squads were separated by just two points in the 2012 CAA Men’s Lacrosse Preseason voting as Delaware, the defending league champion, narrowly earned the 2012 top spot over Massachusetts and Hofstra. The Blue Hens, just one point ahead of the Minutemen and two ahead of the Pride, garnered three first-place votes in a vote conducted by all seven league coaches.

The league’s coaches also selected Penn State sophomore goalkeeper Austin Kaut (Springfield-Delco) and UMass junior attacker Will Manny as the CAA’s Preseason Players of the Year.

More impressive than the two-point separation between Delaware, Massachusetts and Hofstra is the fact the CAA boasts five of its seven squads in the Preseason United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Top-20. UMass leads the way among CAA squads ranked at No. 11. Hofstra will begin its season at No. 14, while Penn State, which garnered one first-place vote in the CAA polling, is ranked 17th in the USILA poll. Delaware, which kicked off its season with a 19-6 win over Detroit, is at No. 19 while Drexel is at No. 20 in the preseason USILA rankings and fifth in the league’s preseason vote. Towson earned 11 points and Saint Joseph’s rounded out the league voting with six points.

Kaut, the CAA’s Rookie of the Year, a First Team All-CAA selection and All-Rookie honoree in 2011, logged a conference-best save percentage of .634 last season in leading the Nittany Lions to its first-ever CAA Championships appearance. Kaut also carried a 7.90 goals-against average over 14 contests in earning Honorable Mention All-America honors. Manny was a Second Team All-CAA attacker as a sophomore in 2011 and ranked third in the league averaging three points/game including 22 points and 23 assists. Kaut’s teammate Matthew Mackrides (Malvern Prep), a First Team All-Conference selection who scored 20 goals in 2011, and Delaware’s Grant Kaleikau, a 15-goal scorer and member of the 2011 All-CAA Tournament team, fill out the other two attack spots on the preseason squad.

Drexel’s Kyle Bergman, UMass’ Anthony Biscardi and Hofstra’s Ian Braddish all earned All-CAA honors in 2011 and make up the preseason All-CAA midfield. Bergman was a Second Team honoree last season after logging 19 goals for the Dragons while both Biscardi and Braddish picked up First Team honors. Biscardi poured in 20 goals and 10 assists for the Minutemen and Braddish averaged better than two points a game including a team-best 17 assists.

Drexel’s Frank Tufano, a two-time First Team All-CAA pick at the long-stick midfield position, is now a repeat preseason long-stick honoree after leading the Dragons with 25 caused turnovers and 48 groundballs last year. John Antoniades, the league’s First Team face-off specialist in 2011, is the 2012 preseason pick at the face-off spot after leading the league with a .642 face-off winning percentage for Hofstra last season.

UMass’ Tom Celentani is the lone preseason defenseman to earn All-CAA honors in 2011. Celentani, a leader for the Minutemen defense which forced nearly nine turnovers a game in 2011, is joined by Penn State’s Ryan McGarvey (Penn Charter) and Hofstra’s Cody Solaja on the backline. McGarvey and the Penn State defense held opponents to an average of 7.9 goals a game and Solaja, an 2010 All-Rookie pick, was part of the league’s best defense holding the opposition to fewer than seven goals a game.

The CAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships are slated to get underway May 2 with semifinal action, as the title contest is slated for May 5.

2012 CAA Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Team (1st) — Pts
1. Delaware (3) — 31
2. Massachusetts (2) — 30
3. Hofstra (1) — 29
4. Penn State (1) — 23
5. Drexel — 17
6. Towson — 11
7. Saint Joseph’s — 6