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Philly Phour Phocus: Well It Could Be Worse!

Just a Philly kid (who’s not happy about the Sixers’ front office) covering Philly teams.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers-Press Conference Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Two games into the 2017 college lacrosse season for Philly teams, the city is 0-2. Sad!

Welcome to another edition of the Philly Phour Phocus, which is properly spelled for the occasion. Once again, we're following all four Philly teams throughout the season, and updating their chances of repping the great city in this year's Final Four in...Foxborough.

Last week, only two teams started their season in Villanova and St. Joe’s. Nova was upset at home by Monmouth, while St. Joe’s fell to Maryland at home. What about Drexel and Penn? And what does this week look like for our proud teams? To the Big Board we go! This week's Philly Phour Phocus Big Board is sponsored by Bustleton. Bustleton: It can be bustling at times.

Philly Phour Phocus Big Board

Team 2017 Overall Record 2016 Overall Record 2016 Conference Record Last Week First/Next Game
Team 2017 Overall Record 2016 Overall Record 2016 Conference Record Last Week First/Next Game
Drexel 0-0 6-9 (nice) 2-3 (4th in CAA) NA Sat. @ Virginia
Penn 0-0 8-7 4-2 (3rd in Ivy) NA Sat. @ St. Joe's
St. Joe's 0-1 12-4 5-1 (1st in NEC) L vs. Maryland Sat. vs. Penn
Villanova 0-1 9-5 3-2 (3rd in Big East) L vs. Monmouth Sat. vs. Monmouth

Drexel

Drexel didn’t play last week, so we’ll copy the same preview we had as a refresher before they play Virginia on Saturday. And Virginia looks really, really good.

The Dragons hope to improve from last year’s 6-9 record, which included an appearance in the CAA Tournament against Towson. They return six of their top seven scorers from a year ago, including starting attackmen Robert Frazee and Cole Shafer. The biggest loss for Drexel is an injury to last year’s top point-scorer Matthew Varian. The sophomore injured his knee during Fall Ball and won’t play in 2017. He’ll still have three years of eligibility remaining. The defense is a question, as the only returning starter from a year ago is Jake Kiernan, although he suffered an injury in the fall as well, but should be ready to go to start the season. Look for Michael Meurer, Matt Klinges, Jude Whalen, and Jake Gennosa as some players with experience to fill some of the gaps at defense this year. Redshirt freshman Will Stabbert is another name to watch. Jimmy Joe Granito returns for his senior year in goal.

2017 Prediction: 5-8 (4th in CAA). Although Drexel could easily lose their first six games of the season. It’ll be another tough road for Brian Voelker’s squad.

Penn

We’ll do the same thing as we did with Drexel. Penn takes on St. Joe’s on Saturday, which should be a good matchup.

The Quakers were a pleasant surprise last year, and were even put in the top 10 by Inside Lacrosse’s Quint Kessenich in his preseason top 20. They have some stellar young guys on their team, four of whom played on the U.S. U-19 World Championship team. Simon Mathias is going to be a name to watch this year, after he led the team in goals and points last year. He joins teammates Alex Roesner and Tyler Dunn, along with Reilly Hupfeldt and Kevin McGeary on offense. Connor Keating is a fun long stick midfielder to watch, as he scored 13 goals last year for the Quakers. Kevin Gayhardt will be joined by Mike Mulqueen and former LSMs Kevin McDonough and Eric Persky at close defense. Sophomore Noah Lejman may miss the entire season with a knee injury during the fall. Sophomore Reed Junkin was an underrated freshman last year and will return in goal for Penn, with freshman Alex deMarco behind him.

2017 Prediction: 9-3 (2nd in Ivy). Penn has a very respectable nonconference schedule, which is something head coach Mike Murphy is known for doing. I think with Yale a weaker team than they were last year and Brown undergoing a coaching change and some big losses, Penn has the chance to sneak up in the top two this year in the conference. They shouldn’t get too cocky, however.

St. Joe’s

The Hawks fell to Maryland at home in their season opener on Tuesday, 16-8. Attackmen Chris Blewitt and Jason Kelly each had a pair of goals in the game, as well as midfielder Kevin Reidinger. T.J. Jones made seven saves in the game, while FOGO Mike Lanham went 9-of-20 from the face-off X. St. Joe’s was in it for a good portion of the first half, trailing just by four goals at halftime. But the Terrapin defense limited the Hawks to only two goals in the second half.

The Hawks host Penn on Saturday in what should be a fun clash of Big 5 teams.

Current Big Dance Chance: 65%. They are the favorite in the NEC conference, but don’t count out Bryant or Hobart yet again. The Hawks can prove themselves with a Penn team that has some high expectations for this year.

Villanova

The Wildcats had Monmouth Saturday, and they lost, 12-10. Midfielder Jake Froccaro had a hat trick on 10 shots, while fellow midfielder John Kluh and attackman Devin McNamara each recorded two goals of their own. Luke Palmadesso went 17-of-25 from the face-off X, but goaltender Dan Willis made only six saves. The Wildcats pretty much dominated the Hawks in nearly every category, except in saves and turnovers, which Villanova had five more than Monmouth did. There are some positives to take away from this loss, but the negatives weigh more than the positives in this case.

Nova hosts Yale in the first ever meeting against the Bulldogs. It’ll be the first game for Ben Reeves for the Bulldogs, who is a possible candidate to win the Tewaaraton this year.

Current Big Dance Chance: 45%. Right now the loss to Monmouth isn’t good. But that doesn’t mean Villanova can play the rest of the year strong. Yale will be a tough team to get a win out of, but if they can pull it out, the chances will rise.

Let’s dance!