Conference Spotlight: Philly Four
Current League Standings:
|TEAM||OVERALL RECORD||PHILLY 4 RECORD||WINS||LOSSES||MEDIA POLL RANK (3/26)|
|Villanova||5-3||2-0||Penn State, Drexel, Delaware, Penn, Lehigh||Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Fairfield||ARV|
|Drexel||4-5||1-1||St. Joseph's, Bryant, Michigan, Binghamton||Virginia, Albany, Villanova, Maryland, St. John's|
|Penn||3-5||1-1||UMBC, St. Joseph's, Lafayette||Maryland, Penn State, Villanova, Princeton, Cornell|
|St. Joe's||4-5||0-2||High Point, VMI, Monmouth, Delaware||Richmond, Pennsylvania, Drexel, Virginia, Michigan|
Please stand for the Philly Anthem:
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- Villanova: The Wildcats jumped out to a fantastic 5-1 start. However, a couple bumpy weeks dropped 'Nova from a potential top 10 team to ARV territory. Villanova needs to find some offense quickly, having scored six goals in the last two games combined. The rest of Villanova's schedule is booked full of conference games and potential quality wins. The Wildcats can jump right back into the Big East and national conversation with a flurry of wins to close out the season.
- Pennsylvania: It's been an up and down season for the Quakers. After two wins to start 2015, Pennsylvania has lost five out of its last six. Lucky for the Quakers, the Ivy League automatic qualifier is still in play, assuming Pennsylvania can progress to the league's postseason event. The Quakers demonstrated real fight at Cornell in their triple overtime loss to the Big Red and similar efforts over the next few games from Penn would transition the Quakes from a spoiler to a contender.
- Drexel: The doubters may have jumped off the Drexel bandwagon after its 0-4 start, but
fireearly season nonconference losses cannot kill a dragon. Already the owners of the The Streets' favorite announcerless game stream, Drexel now owns a 4-5 record. Things really heat up now that Drexel starts CAA conferenceTHUNDERDOME! play. The race for the CAATHUNDERDOME! crown is going to be the lacrosse equivalent of listening to DMX's "Stop Being Greedy" on repeat until Selection Sunday.
- St. Joseph's: Speaking of snatching plate/W's, have you seen St. Joseph's record? Sure, things happened at Richmond and Drexel, but three of the Hawks' losses have been by three goals combined. (Hop fans feel your pain, Fam.) Anyone who has watched a St. Joseph's game online knows it is riveting theater, but no one wants the title of "Best Sub.-500 team in Division I" (ask JHU). The Hawks are looking at the NEC, as 50 would say from "How to Rob," like something to eat.
Upcoming Games of Earth-Shattering Importance:
- Marquette at Villanova (March 28), Villanova at Denver (April 3), and Villanova at Georgetown (April 11): The next few games are pretty critical for Villanova as the Wildcats can jump toward the front of the pack in the Big East race with a couple -- better yet, three -- wins over the next two weeks. The Big East Tournament is at Villanova, which will be an advantage if the Wildcats make it that far. Wins over any of the next three opponents have the added benefit of boosting Villanova's at-large resume as Marquette, Denver, and Georgetown are all top 14 teams.
- Yale at Penn (March 28), Penn at Brown (April 4), Penn at Harvard (April 11), and Penn v. #5 ACC (April 25): Though 3-5, Pennsylvania is still very much alive in the Ivy League as both Yale and Harvard are also 0-2. While the Ivy's auto-bid is Penn's best path to The Big Barbecue, a late season victory against the #5 ACC team in the ACC
four team invitationalTournament could create some national anarchy. The Quakers shook up the Ivy last year with a nice run through the Ivy League Tournament, after starting out 0-2. A repeat performance this year and the Quakes could be in the buffet line come May.
- St. Joseph's at Bryant (March 28), Hobart at St. Joseph's (April 18), and St. Joseph's at Sacred Heart (April 25): It's all NEC until the end of the season for St. Joe's. The Hawks have most of their weapons back from the squad that went 6-0 last year in the conference. Look for St. Joseph's to bust in the door like Frank White screaming that they "WANT IN" on everything that goes down in the NEC.
- Fairfield at Drexel (March 28), Drexel at Hofstra (April 4), Drexel at Massachusetts (April 18), and Towson at Drexel (April 25): While the race for the THUNDERDOME! crown is undecided, it will surely be as bloody and difficult as ever. THUNDERDOME! is the a conference that turns into that scene in A Bronx Tale: [door closes, locks] "Now you's can't leave."
- Ryan Belka: A 2014 Honorable Mention All-American, Belka hasn't missed a beat in 2015. As if co-leading the Dragons in goals (18) weren't enough, Belka also leads the team in helpers (15) and total points (33). With seven points in his last two games, Ryan's heating up at just the right time, as Drexel will be leaning on their senior as they begin their conference murderfest.
- Mike Rastivo: You might remember Rastivo from our "That Guy" segment from the NEC spotlight. Rastivo dropped four goals against Michigan the day after we published the piece and was like "I GOT FIVE (points) ON IT" against Delaware last weekend. With 20 tallies and 29 points on the season already, Rastivo's about to smash his goals and points total (27 and 34, respectively) from last season. Anyone who proves us right gets a
hood passwelcomed reception for life around here.
- Conference: Bloodied, tired, and down on points, a vicious gangster wants you to stay down? What do you do? Pop up and knock 'em out like Pitt in Snatch. Philly's at-large hopes might be dim, but everyone's got a conference pulse and that's all that matters.