Drexel needed to with the THUNDERDOME! Tournament in dramatic triple-overtime fashion to even advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Dragons -- in their first trip to the Big Barbeque -- wasted no time in cashing in on their invitation to college lacrosse's biggest moment, uncorking a ridiculous 16-11 beatdown of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field. With the win, Drexel moves on to Delaware Stadium to face Denver in the quarterfinal round.
The game was a brutal, unrelenting force of concentrated power indicative of the Sixth Borough: Hard -- bordering on dangerous -- hits, unabated toughness, and a hardened character illustrative of the Body Bag Game played 24 years ago at Veterans Stadium. The game will be remembered, though, for two major themes:
- The complete and total nonsense that defined the end of the first and second quarters.
- A seven-goal push from Drexel that sent Penn into the unknown (partly driven by the way the second quarter ended).
Holding a two-goal lead late in the first period, Pat Berkery committed a turnover that Nick Trizano pounced on. The Dragons quickly turned the giveaway into a bucket with 47 seconds remaining in the first quarter, cutting the Quakers' lead to 3-2. Nick Saputo would win the ensuing faceoff, and out of a timeout with 28 seconds on the clock, Drew Belinsky would pick off a pass from Jules Raucci, racing to the far end of the field and helping fuel a Nick Doktor goal with just 9.6 seconds remaining in the period. Pennsylvania appeared poised to secure a two-goal lead going into the second quarter, but Saputo won the proceeding faceoff and took it himself to the cage, finishing with just one second on the scoreboard. The Dragons had eroded a two-goal deficit into a one-goal disadvantage, somehow doing so while the teams traded three goals in under a minute.
The ending of the second quarter was even more bonkers than the close of the opening quarter: In the last 17.7 seconds of the period, Drexel scored three goals -- the first from Raucci on a vicious split dodge; the second from Saputo calling his own number after winning the faceoff after Raucci's goal; the third from Saputo after winning another faceoff and firing home another bucket -- in around 12 seconds. Before the onslaught in the period's final 20 seconds, Drexel trailed Pennsylvania, 6-4; after the bombing, the Dragons held a 7-6 lead going into the intermission. It was a lead that the Dragons wouldn't lose en route to the progarm's first NCAA Tournament win in ever.
Drexel didn't lose any steam coming out of the break, putting four goals on the board in the third quarter's first 6:35, getting two tallies from Jared Boudreau and a goal apiece from Raucci and Chris Fredrick. Counting the raid in the final 20 seconds of the second stanza, the Dragons puts seven unanswered scores on the board in 6:52. The shelling -- one that gave Drexel a decisive 11-6 lead -- would pause after Nick Doktor broke the Quakers' 8:46 scoring drought -- that isn't even that bad! -- with a score to pull Pennsylvania within four.
At that point, though, the game was functionally over. The Quakers found a little volition in the game's final 22:30, but Drexel ended up outscoring Penn, 5-4, until the final gun. Penn never seriously challenged Drexel as the clock slowly died, suffocated due to the seven-goal lead that Drexel built in the fourth quarter.
TRUNCATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE
|Raw Offensive Efficiency||38.10||33.33|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||35.56%||23.40%|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||1.07||1.42|
|Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities||45.24||42.42|
|Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Possessions||25.33||28.00|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||36.36||23.81|
|Team Save Percentage||52.17%||38.46%|