Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/16/14
From Press Release
The Drexel men’s lacrosse team is just one win away from playing on Memorial Day on the sport’s biggest stage. However, standing in the way is the fourth-seeded Denver Pioneers, who entered the postseason ranked second in both the USILA and Warrior Media Polls.
The two schools meet on Sunday afternoon in Newark, Del. in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Delaware Stadium. Game time is set for approximately 2:30 p.m. right after the conclusion of the Duke-Johns Hopkins game. The winner advances to the NCAA Semifinals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. The game can be seen live on ESPNU.
Tickets for Sunday’s Quarterfinal game against Drexel at Delaware Stadium are currently on sale. Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster.com.
Drexel has won nine in a row after a convincing 16-11 win in the First Round at Penn on Sunday. The Dragons trailed 6-4 late in the first half before Jules Raucci (Garnet Valley) scored with :17 to play in the half to cut it the lead to one.
That is when Nick Saputo took over. The junior won the face-off and scored just five seconds later to tie it. He wasn’t done yet. Saputo won the next draw and scored again, swinging the momentum in Drexel’s favor and giving the Dragons a 7-6 lead. They would not trail again as they won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in school history.
Ben McIntosh scored three goals for Drexel and is now the school’s single-season leader with 46 goals. Fellow senior Nick Trizano has 38 goals, while Cole Shafer has 35 in his first year in University City. Ryan Belka has been playing well lately in the midfield and now has 25 goals and 43 points. Jared Boudreau and Raucci are often the overlooked players on offense. Boudreau had two big third quarter goals at Penn and Raucci had a pair of goals and assists in the game.
Saputo has been dynamite all year and is fourth in the nation in face-off percentage (.638) and sixth in ground balls per game. The defense is led by seniors Matt Dusek and Tyler Houchins (La Salle). Dusek has caused 20 turnovers, while Houchins has had the opponents top scorer to deal with each week. In goal, Drexel will have Will Gabrielsen. The sophomore had 12 saves at Penn, including a number at big times to keep the Dragons comfortably in front during the second half.
The Pioneers not only enter the contest with a 15-2 record and a 12-game winning streak, they have a coaching legend on the bench. Bill Tierney took over at Denver five years ago and has led the Pioneers to five NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the NCAA Semifinals.
Tierney has won six national championships in his career, all while at Princeton. His career record is 337-115 in 30 seasons. Denver’s offense averages 13.18 goals per game. Wesley Berg, who hails from the same hometown as Dragons Ben McIntosh and Cole Shafer, has 42 goals and 60 assists.
Berg is one of four Pioneers with at least 35 goals and one of five with at least 40 points. Denver got to the quarterfinals by defeating North Carolina in Colorado, 9-5.
SCOUTING THE PIONEERS
Denver advanced to the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships with a 9-5 win over North Carolina in the opening round hosted at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium this past weekend.
The win marked the third straight over North Carolina in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship.
Denver has won 12 straight games, sitting at 15-2 on the season, while Drexel has won nine straight games.
The win-streak matches the Pioneers’ longest since the 2011 season in which Denver won 12 straight games before losing to eventual NCAA Champion Virginia in the NCAA Tournament Semifinals (05/28/11).
Denver is averaging 35.76 shots per game, 13.18 goals per game, 7.4 assists per game and 20.5 points per game.
Junior Wesley Berg (Coquitlam, B.C.) and sophomore Jack Bobzien (Littleton, Colo.) lead the team with 60 points. Berg has 42 goals and 18 assists, while Bobzien has 39 goals and 21 assists.
Senior Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario) leads the Pioneers with 31 assists.
Denver has the third-best scoring offense in the nation (13.18), the third-best scoring margin (4.94), the fourth-best points-per-game average (20.53) and the fourth-best shot percentage (.368).
The Pioneers also have the best winning percentage (.882) in the nation and the fewest turnovers per game in the nation (11.47).