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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #24 Drexel Dragons

Drexel made it to the CAA title game for the first time since 2014.

Sideline Photos

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#24 Drexel Dragons

Conference: CAA
2019 Record: 7-8 (2-3 in CAA)
Postseason: Defeated UMass in CAA semifinals, lost to Towson in CAA Championship
Head coach: Brian Voelker (10th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Reid Bowering (47)
Assists: Matthew Varian (33)
Points: Matthew Varian (62)
Faceoffs: Jimmeh Koita (231-of-405; 57%)
Ground balls: Jimmeh Koita (137)
Caused turnovers: Sean Quinn (24)
Goals against average: Ross Blumenthal (11.35 GAA)
Save percentage: Ross Blumenthal (47.7%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: M Marshal King (24 Gs, 25 As, 32 GBs, 7 CTs), D Matt Klinges (14 CTs, 31 GBs, 1 G), SSDM Cam Harris (6 CTs, 25 GBs, 5 Gs, 3 As), SSDM Christopher Friedman (4 CTs, 13 GBs, 2 Gs, 1 A), A Matt Soran (8 Gs, 2 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 69 of 303 points (22.8%)
Senior starts lost: 30 of 150 (20%)

Season Summary

The 2019 Drexel team returned to the CAA Tournament after a disappointing 5-8 campaign in 2018. Despite still finishing below .500, the Dragons were competitive in nearly all of their games.

Their first three games were all decided by a goal, with two of them needing overtime. In their season-opener against High Point, Drexel gave up a two-goal lead in the final quarter and saw the Panthers take the victory in overtime. A few days later, the team traveled to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan. Down four with 8:27 left in the game, Drexel scored five of the next six goals in regulation, including Reid Bowering’s game-tying man-up tally with eight seconds left which was his seventh of the game, to force another overtime before Cam Harris won it in double OT. They returned home to take on Albany but lost that game by a goal thanks to two Great Dane scores in the fourth.

The Dragons suffered their worst loss of the season to Jacksonville in a 19-12 decision. Entering the Philly 4 Lacrosse Classic the following weekend, the team decided to start freshman Ross Blumenthal in goal over John Van Sickle and John Roulston. That decision paid off as Drexel defeated Saint Joseph’s and Villanova in that weekend, with Blumenthal recording 19 saves altogether. A six-goal performance by Bowering wasn’t enough in a 13-10 setback to Georgetown, but they bounced back with a 15-9 victory against Providence. The big difference was a 6-0 second quarter by the Dragons which was part of an 8-0 run.

It’s never easy playing against the rest of the CAA, and this year was no exception. Four of Drexel’s five conference games were decided by one or two goals with the outlier being a 21-9 win against Fairfield. Conference play didn’t start out well for the Dragons, who dropped their first two games against UMass and Delaware. Drexel held a 6-2 halftime lead against the Minutemen, but saw their opponent go on a 3-0 run to take the lead and eventually the game.

After the Fairfield win was Hofstra on the road, a game that would make or break the team’s postseason chances. At the end of the third, the Pride led by three and Drexel was on thin ice. But a natural hat-trick by Matthew Varian and two straight goals by Bowering powered the Dragons to the lead. Drexel’s defense gave up a goal to end that run, but never broke as Blumenthal made his biggest save with 2:20 to go to cap off a 15 save performance for the win. They did the opposite in the regular season finale against Towson where they gave up a one-goal lead in the final quarter and saw the Tigers scored three straight.

Drexel was the fourth and final seed in the CAA Tournament, which they were in their previous two trips in 2016 and 2017. This time around, they faced UMass in the semifinals. The Dragons came out with a nine-goal first half and took a five-goal lead into halftime and held on for a three-goal upset win. But Drexel could not complete the weekend upset as they fell to Towson for the second time this season. The last time they defeated the Tigers in the CAA Tournament was in 2014 in overtime en route to the NCAA Tournament.

Varian and Bowering started all 15 games at attack and had at least 55 points on the season. They were joined by freshman Jack Mulcahy, who finished with 12 goals and eight assists. He started 12 games after Charles Dumas started the first two games before suffering a season-ending injury. Matt Soran also put up eight goals. The first midfield was senior Marshal King, who finished with 49 points, and juniors Collin Mailman and Nick Fox. Ryan Genord recorded 18 goals as another top midfielder on the team, with Chris McLallen, and George Grippo also contributing.

The close defense of Sean Quinn, Will Stabbert, and Matt Klinges started all 15 games and each had over 10 caused turnovers as a unit. Jack Farrell was the primary LSM when Nolan Fox went down with a season-ending injury after playing seven games. Charlie Maly also saw more time with Fox injured. Cam Harris, Christopher Friedman, and Luke Hurley were the SSDMs with Grippo also seeing time on the defensive end. Jimmeh Koita went 57% from the faceoff X as a junior with Liam Muhly being the backup FOGO.

Looking Ahead

Drexel’s big holes to fill will be on the defensive side with a starting defenseman and two short stick defenders. Farrell, Nolan Fox, and Maly will all be back and one of them could potentially move down to close defense. Patrick Udovich and Pat Kiernan are also options. Luke Hurley is the top returning short stick defender, while Grippo could potentially be asked to be a two-way defender. The Dragons also have Tucker Durkin coming in as defensive coordinator. Blumenthal looks to continue to take the reigns as the starting goalie.

The offense should not be a big problem with Ryan Genord potentially filling King’s role up top. Dumas and Mulcahy will probably compete for the third starting spot on attack.

With a good amount of Towson’s contributors graduating, Drexel could be in the picture to sneak in the NCAA Tournament with the CAA’s auto-bid.

Poll

How many wins will Drexel get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    0-4
    (3 votes)
  • 9%
    5-6
    (5 votes)
  • 37%
    7-8
    (20 votes)
  • 47%
    9+
    (25 votes)
53 votes total Vote Now