Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/4/15
From Press Release
Ryan Belka’s third goal of the game with just 14 seconds to play broke a 7-7 tie and gave Drexel a pivotal road conference win at Hofstra on Saturday. Jimmy Joe Granito made a career-high 16 saves as Drexel improved to 1-1 in league play and 5-6 overall. The Pride dropped to 4-6 and 1-2 in the CAA.
The game marked the second annual HEADStrong Hero Bowl, which will pay homage to cancer survivors while also serving as a tribute to those who have lost their battle against cancer. It is also the hope of the Headstrong Foundation that this event will spur an even greater opportunity for service and volunteerism for students on both campuses.
Both teams helped raise awareness for the HEADstrong Foundation by taking the field wearing HF lime green shoelaces and chinstraps. The Dragons, as winners of the Hero Bowl, were presented with a custom-made, three-tiered lime and royal blue trophy with a silver cup on top. The trophy will be proudly displayed for the year in the athletic office of the winning school. Over the years, both Hofstra and Drexel have been closely involved with the HEADstrong Foundation. Nicholas Colleluori, the founder, was a beloved member of the Hofstra Pride men’s lacrosse team before and during his cancer diagnosis, and the program has continued to support several of the organization’s events and campaigns since the Foundation’s inception. In 2006, shortly after Colleluori’s diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Drexel University became the first collegiate men’s lacrosse team to wear HEADstrong’s iconic lime green shoelaces during a televised game against the University of Virginia, which helped the organization gain national attention.
Hofstra trailed by three goals with four minutes to go, but mounted a late rally which evened the score. With Drexel ahead 7-4, Hofstra’s Zachary Franco started the three-goal run to cut the lead to two. After his goal, Drexel was assessed with a penalty and at the 3:30 mark, Korey Hendrickson trimmed the lead to 7-6 with an extra-man goal. The Pride came all the way back and tied it at seven when Mike Malave scored his second of the game. The Dragons’ Nick Saputo won the ensuing face off when Markell Nelson picked up the loose ball. He got the ball to Hank Brown, who set up Belka for the game-winner. The goal tied Belka with Scott Perri for 13th on Drexel’s career goals list and gave him the 150th point of his career.
After a scoreless third, the Dragons scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter to open up a 6-3 lead. Mason Pynn and Jules Raucci (Garnet Valley) each scored unassisted goals less than two minutes apart. Brian Von Bargen finally stopped the Hofstra scoring drought after 23 minutes when he cut the lead to 6-4 with 7:57 to play. Pynn answered when he netted his second of the quarter to give the Dragons what looked to be a comfortable lead at 7-4 with less than six minutes to play in regulation.
The teams exchanged the first seven goals of the contest in the first half. Drexel got it started with a little more than five minutes remaining in the first quarter when Michael Kay scored an unassisted goal. That would be the only goal of the opening 15 minutes. The Dragons were able to lead despite turning the ball over eight times in the first quarter.
Hofstra tied it early in the second quarter when Steve Romano set up Brendan Kavanaugh for the first Pride goal. The teams started clicking a little more on the offensive end in the final seven minutes of the half. Belka gave Drexel the lead with 6:56 to go, but that lasted for just over two minutes. Sam Llinares, the top point producer in the CAA, tied it at the 4:18 mark. Belka and Malave swapped goals making it 3-3 heading into the final minute of the half. Belka’s goal, from Cole Shafer, was scored on the man-up. It appeared the teams would go to intermission tied, but Shafer picked up a rebound of a Pynn shot with just 10 seconds to play and beat Chris Selva. The Pride outshot Drexel, 23-14, in the first half, but Granito made nine saves in the cage for the Dragons.
Hofstra outshot Drexel overall in the game, 42-29, but Granito picked a good day to have his best game as a Dragon. The sophomore made came up big throughout the contest. The Pride won 11 of 17 face-offs and also won the battle of ground balls, 26-19. Belka and Pynn each had three points for the Dragons.
Miles Thomas (Conestoga) had two groundballs for Drexel. Dylan Alderman had an assist and a groundball for Hofstra.
The Dragons return to Philadelphia, where they will play two of their final three games this season. Delaware comes to Vidas Field next Saturday for a 4 p.m. face off.