Though the Drexel University men’s lacrosse team has experienced its ups and downs, the Dragons completely annihilated Towson University 13-5 April 21 in the final Colonial Athletic Association match of the regular season to earn a spot in postseason play.
It was neck-and-neck early in the contest, with Drexel leading 2-1 at the end of the first quarter. The Dragons can attribute their early lead to goals from Brendan Glynn and Aaron Prosser. The only Tiger to put one past Drexel goalie Mark Manos in the first was Matt Lamon.
Entering the second, the Dragons knew they had to expand their early lead in order to get a jump on Towson. Thanks to Robert Church, Ryan Belka and Ben McIntosh, Drexel more than doubled its score and expanded the lead to 5-1.
With under 10 minutes remaining in the half, the Tigers began their prowl and started playing more aggressively. The Dragons held them off for the most part and even managed to add one more on the scoreboard, but Towson started taking consistent shots and cut the deficit to within two goals. During the final five minutes of the half, the Tigers had two different man-up opportunities but couldn’t take advantage of them. The teams went to their locker rooms with Drexel leading 6-4.
“Throughout the first half we knew we were much better than Towson, and we were making stupid mistakes that stopped us from pulling away,” freshman and CAA Rookie of the Week Nick Saputo said. “After halftime we reorganized and fixed those mistakes, giving ourselves the opportunity to pull away like we did.”
The Tigers should have stayed in the locker room for the second half instead of facing the Dragons’ fire and getting burned as badly as they did.
Out of the gate, Glynn put one on the board, followed by one from Towson’s Andrew Hodgson, whose goal would prove to be the Tigers’ last for the game. The Dragons, on the other hand, were just getting started. With six more goals scored by five Drexel players, the Dragons put the kibosh on any skepticism and claimed themselves a well-deserved spot in the CAA playoffs by taking down Towson 13-5.
This win was momentous for the men’s lacrosse team as a whole and especially so for Saputo.
“Being named Rookie of the Week was an honor, and I was ecstatic to have been recognized for the game [against Towson],” Saputo proudly said. “It is the first type of recognition I have received in my college career, and it is one I will always remember.”
Saputo’s high level of play and success on the field couldn’t have come at a better time. During the team’s do-or-die competition against Towson, Saputo used his faceoff skills to win seven of his eight draws, all of which came during the second-half surge.
“The entire team and myself did our best to stay as focused as possible because losing the game could cause us to lose our spot in the CAA playoffs,” Saputo said. “That just made every type of preparation, from mindset right before the game to practices that week, twice as important.”
Apparently the hard work paid off because after his impressive showing against Towson, Saputo’s faceoff–win percentage pumped up to 60 percent for the season. As a whole, the novice has won 27 faceoffs in 45 attempts — above .500 is a very respectable and promising percentage for the newbie on the team.
It’s hoped that Saputo and his teammates can have a memorable Senior Day April 28 against St. John’s University for the last home game of the regular season and, more importantly, earn an early win against The Pennsylvania State University May 2 at State College, Pa. during the CAA Tournament.
“Everyone on the team is more confident than ever in being able to take down PSU this time; losing is not an option,” Saputo said. “A CAA championship is the goal, and it starts with beating PSU.”