Words about Denver, Lehigh, Ohio State, and Drexel.
Fall ball is just about wrapping up all over the country, pushing teams indoors for more offseason conditioning until the calendar turns to 2013 and the season begins in earnest. There hasn't been a lot of big surprises this fall; rather, teams are just kind of doing their thing, getting heat in their legs, nursing some injuries, and seeing what kind of talent dots the roster before the gun fires in February. The little nuggets of information that have trickled forward are interesting but not a story in totality; what follows is just the residue of that.
The Mountain Hawks were out in San Francisco this weekend for a date with Ohio State. Lehigh appears to have won a five-quarter affair (which is mathematically impossible), but the dispatch from Inside Lacrosse's Stephen Urban notes the biggest story from the Mountain Hawks' effort:
The third quarter of this ball game was all Lehigh as they tallied nine of their 15 goals on the day. Their offense was driven by the play of DiMaria and Fantoni. The two-headed monster at attack combined for 90 points last year, and look like an even larger focal point of the offense this year.
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As long as Fantoni and DiMaria can continue to carry the load on offense Lehigh could be poised for another strong season. However, in any game where those two are having an off day or get shutdown or face-guarded Lehigh could be in trouble. Nothing from their offensive midfield really jumped off the page.
As much as the Lao-Gosney twins helped push Lehigh's offensive fortunes towards the positive, it was DiMaria and Fantoni that really shouldered the load for the Mountain Hawks in 2012. Their relationship in-close was the barometer for Lehigh's ability to generate goals and pivot off of the team's stalwart defense. The two attack were each among the nation's best in 2012, DiMaria finishing 36th among attackmen in the Player Statistical Index and Fantoni finishing behind him in the 74th position. (With respect to their positions in adjusted individual offensive efficiency, DiMaria finished 52nd in the country and Fantoni was 67th.) They remain the crux of the offense, and will be a handful for opponents again in 2013 if they can get some help around them.
Don't say that I didn't warn you:
After the defense put together a solid first two quarter, Lehigh torched them for the aforementioned nine goals in the third quarter. Their struggles continue this fall, as this is the second contest where they have allowed 15 goals this fall.
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A somewhat frustrating day for Ohio State, as it let the Mountain Hawks come back from several goals down. However, they showed they can play at times, it’s just a matter of putting together a complete 60 minute (75 minutes in Sunday's case) game. More work is going to need to be done on their close defensive unit, as they couldn’t handle the speed and agility of DiMaria and Fantoni of Lehigh.
Losing Keenan Ochwat, Joe Bonanni, and Matt Kawamoto was going to be a difficult task for Nick Myers to handle, and it appears as if the team is experiencing those associated troubles. I still think that Ohio State has the potential to take a run at teams this season, but if the team's defense is going to go through fits of torture -- a unit that has been the bedrock for the program's success over recent years -- the Buckeyes could be in trouble. And that doesn't even consider the program's need to find a consistent offensive flow that doesn't involve giving the ball to Logan Schuss and getting out of the way.
Koerber, a Baltimore native, recorded five goals before halftime, wearing Matthews’ old number (No. 22) as Law racked up three assists on the afternoon, spearheading the Pioneers offense.
“Eric does an amazing job of running our offense; he’s the quarterback out there,” said coach Bill Tierney. “Gordie is a talented young man who has played in a lot of big lacrosse games and he’s moved up into his role quicker than we thought he would, but at the same time he knows he is a beneficiary of playing with a lot of really good players.”
ATTENTION AMERICA: This ain't a team with just a midfield; prepare to have things flung at and around your goalie's skull from every conceivable position.
The Dragons are getting a little heat as a quiet contender for the THUNDERDOME! crown in 2013. I didn't include Drexel in my pre-fall top 20, but I did have them just on the outside of the ranking. The Dragons could be pretty good this season, assuming they clean up some of their defensive holes, and if the offense meets its potential it could be really potent:
Garret McIntosh and Robert Church impressed coach Voelker during the games. Brendan Glynn had at least a few goals in the game against Penn. Church as well, with at least four goals against Navy. Ryan Belka contributed with the scoring as well, along with Andrew Vivian. Drexel has some legit outside shooters, so they will be a scoring threat from deep all season. It's interesting to note that Drexel had players practicing shots from outside at least an hour and a half before the first game. If they can get open – something they struggled to do against Navy – that will be a threat.
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The Penn-Drexel game had perhaps the quickest pace of any game of the weekend.
The Dragons have been one of the slowest teams in the country over the last few years. I'm not sure what got into them this weekend (meth).
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The more that Church and Glynn can put their stamp on this Drexel offense, the better off the Dragons will be. They have the potential to be very explosive; it's just a matter of whether the Dragons can get it all together and really run with some shots and awe.