Unfortunately, a pair of losses followed their winning streak. The University of Delaware (7-3, 3-0 Colonial Athletic Association) came from behind to defeat the Dragons (5-5, 1-2 CAA) at Vidas field 9-7 April 2.
Drexel was off to a commanding start. Between Robert Church with two goals and Nick Trizano, Scott Perri and Kyle Bergman each with one, the Dragons earned five goals in the first half alone.
However, the Blue Hens managed to stay in the game with a pair of goals in the first half of play.
Going into the break, the Dragons appeared to be well equipped to finish Delaware — the only undefeated team in the conference.
Even though the Blue Hens began to rally after the break, Drexel maintained composure and the lead — for the time being.
Just 61 seconds into the second half, Delaware’s Nick Diachenko put one past Drexel goalie Mark Manos, bringing the score to 5-3 in favor of Drexel. Diachenko’s teammate, Nick Elsmo, charged the net and managed an unassisted goal, slicing Drexel’s lead to just one goal.
Before the Dragons knew it, the game was tied at 5-5 after Delaware’s Justin Martinelli passed to Finnegan for the goal.
“We didn’t play very well in the second half and didn’t get many opportunities on the offensive end in the second half,” head coach Brian Voelker said. “I give Delaware credit, they played well, and we just didn’t play with the same pace we did in the first half.”
The Blue Hens quickly took the lead just under the 10-minute mark, when Eric Smith ran around the back of the net to beat Manos and put another one past him. This was Delaware’s first time in the lead thus far.
At this point in the game, things were heating up. The once-strong Drexel offense was second-guessing its skills and the no-nonsense defense was hanging Manos out to dry.
To stop Delaware from running away with the lead, the Dragons needed to act fast, and they did — at least for a little while.
Perri set up teammate Brendan Glynn for a goal against Blue Hen keeper Noah Fossner. Though Drexel’s efforts were enough to tie the game, they weren’t enough to come away with a win.
With back-to-back Blue Hen goals by John Mils and Brendan Gilson, Delaware took an 8-6 lead with minimal time remaining.
In a last ditch effort, Dragon’s star Perri fed Trizano the ball, putting one last point on the board for Drexel with just 5:47 left.
Delaware’s Grank Kaleikau scored the last goal of the game in the final two minutes of play. Delaware finished on top once again, defeating Drexel 9-7.
Although the outcome of the game wasn’t ideal, the Dragons do have something to be excited about — Perri.
“We are not happy being 5-5 but we have had some individuals with good years.,” coach Voelker stated. “Scott is having a very good year – We knew he was one of the best attackmen in the CAA and he has ended up being one of the best in the country. We need him to keep it up the rest of the season.”
Against Delaware, the senior attackman had three assists and four goals.In total, he racked up 42 points throughout the season. With his impressive play, he has earned his chances at All-American candidacy.
Hopefully his teammates will follow in his footsteps and step up to finish the season strong.
“We have to be more consistent – We have played 10 games and played well for the entire game only once,” coach Voelker said. “This weekend we have to play 60 minutes and come with energy and enthusiasm and not commit crucial errors.”
Their next competitors, the nationally ranked No. 19 Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions, will certainly give the Dragons a run for their money.
Even though the Lions have a high national ranking, their 5-4 record is only average.
With that said, the Dragons certainly have a tough battle ahead. Penn State won four of their last five games, one of which was against No. 16 Massachusetts.
If Drexel can come out strong and maintain its composure and intensity throughout the entire game, not just the first half, the Dragons should come home with a “W”.
“We worked hard this week,” coach Voelker said. “Penn State is a good team and we need to play our best to get a win on Saturday.”
Drexel is set to play Penn State at State College, Pa. April 9 at 1 p.m.