Men’s lacrosse beats Penn State late, gets CAA title shot | The Triangle
Men's Lacrosse

Men’s lacrosse beats Penn State late, gets CAA title shot

Drexel junior attackman Robert Church shoots one bye Villanova University goalkeeper Dan Gutierrez. Church scored one goal and two assists in the 9-14 loss to the Wildcats at Villanova Feb. 28. Church on the season leads the Dragons with 24 goals and 42 points.

Coming off clinching a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament after a 13-5 trouncing of Towson University April 21, the Drexel men’s lacrosse team looked to continue its four-year winning streak on Senior Day April 28 against St. John’s University.

The Dragons said goodbye to seniors Kevin Stockel, Mark Manos, Dana Wilber, Andrew Collins, Chris Farquhar, Max Crockett, Frank Tufano, Brian Teuber and Kyle Bergman. Although Senior Day is known as a ceremonial day to honor the grizzled veterans, the lacrosse team seniors are more focused on the game than the celebration.

“It’s nice to be recognized for making it through four to five years of lacrosse here, but that’s expected,” Bergman said. “I know me and the other seniors aren’t too into the ceremonial aspect of senior day — we just want to play — but our mothers like it, and so we’re happy to do it, and we do it with a smile on our faces because, well, we love our mothers.”

The Dragons got off to a fast start against St. John’s. Goals by Bergman, junior attackman Brendan Glynn and sophomore Ben McIntosh gave the Dragons a 3-0 lead within the first 10 minutes of the first period. The Red Storm’s Kevin Cernuto scored a pretty goal at the 7:13 mark to close the gap in the score. After a stretch of time where St. John’s controlled the play, Drexel junior attackman Robert Church managed to score another goal with just 14 seconds remaining in the first period.

The second period was dominated by St. John’s. The Red Storm controlled the play for most of the period, holding the Dragons to only three shots. However, Manos stood tall by only allowing two goals on 10 shots. The Dragons managed to escape the period with limited damage and took a 4-3 lead into halftime.

St. John’s started the third period with a man up and scored a goal on the advantage just 18 seconds into the period. The Dragons grabbed the lead back at the 12-minute mark with a goal from redshirt-freshman attackman Andrew Vivian. Less than two minutes later, the Red Storm scored a goal to tie the game up. Church then scored two goals in a row to complete a hat trick and give Drexel the 7-5 lead. After the Dragons’ goals, The Red Storm scored two goals in a row to end the third period in a 7-7 tie.

The fourth period proved to be a wild one. The Red Storm came out strong, scoring the first two goals, which gave them a 9-7 lead. Soon after the St. John’s goals, the Dragons started their own comeback. Bergman scored an amazing cross-body opposite-side goal at the 9:01 mark to start things off. Under a minute later, junior Aaron Prosser scored another pretty goal over the goalie’s shoulder to tie the game. Glynn finished off the comeback with his second goal of the game. Manos had some big saves for the rest of the game to preserve the lead while the Red Storm attacked relentlessly. Drexel’s defense came up big, limiting St. John’s quality chances, closing the door on the 10-9 victory.

A combination of timely goals and strong defense won this game for the Dragons. Head coach Brian Voelker praised the team for the hard work and drive to orchestrate the comeback.

“It was nice to finish the regular season with a win and great to get a win on Senior Day,” Voelker said. “I don’t think it was our sharpest game, but we played hard and got the W. It was good that we showed composure in the fourth quarter. We got some big goals and key stops on defense.”

Church led the team with three assists and six points while Glynn had two goals and three points.

Manos made 13 saves in the game, most of which were game-saving.

“He plays the most important position on the field and plays it well,” Voelker said. “Our team has a ton of confidence in him, and they know he’ll make big plays when it counts. … Mark really shut the door in the fourth quarter.”

The Dragons then faced The Pennsylvania State University May 2 in the first game of the CAA Tournament. Before the game, Voelker noted that the comeback win against St. John’s might give them a boost against PSU.

“I hope the game gives us some confidence,” Voelker said. “We know we can play with anyone in the country. Penn State has had a great year, but I know we’re looking forward to playing them tomorrow.”

He was right about that, as McIntosh scored the first goal of the game for the Dragons. The game would prove to be a back-and-forth affair with the Dragons eventually prevailing with the upset.

Just over one minute later, the Nittany Lions scored their first goal of the game. They scored three more consecutive goals going into the second period.

The game shifted back into Drexel’s favor in the second period with three consecutive goals by Glynn, Prosser and freshman midfielder Ryan Belka, tying the game at 4-4. At 4:29, Penn State capitalized on being a man up and scored to take a short-lived 5-4 lead. The Dragons came right back to tie the game with a goal by Church. PSU scored one more goal in the half, ending the first with a 6-5 lead.

The Dragons opened the second half with four straight goals to take a 9-6 lead. Penn State answered with two goals to close the deficit to one, but Church managed to score with 26 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Dragons a two-goal lead going into the fourth period.

The fourth period started with a pair of PSU goals. The Dragons answered back with a goal of their own, but the Nittany Lions scored again to tie the game at 11 with 4:50 remaining in the game. Glynn broke the tie for Drexel with 2:36 remaining in the game. The Dragons scored one more insurance goal to solidify the 13-11 postseason win.

With the win, the Dragons will face the top-seeded University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass. May 5.