Fall Snapshot: Drexel Dragons

(Photo Courtesy of Drexel Athletics)

Welcome to the Fall Snapshot series. Throughout the fall I will be taking an early look at all 75 DI men’s college lacrosse teams and giving a snapshot of where each is heading into the 2023 season.

Head Coach: Brian Voelker (14th Season, 2010-Current)

Drexel 2022 Record: 6-8 (2-3 CAA)

Key Departures: Ryan Genord (M/A), Aidan Coll (A), George Grippo (SSDM), Jack Farrell (LSM), Sean Quinn (D)

Key Returners: Jack Mulcahy (M), Sean Donnelly (A), Max Semple (A), Brennan Greenwald (D), Patrick Udovich (D), Ross Blumenthal (G)

Transfer Additions: Justin Joseph (FO)

Drexel came into the 2022 season with much praise. The Dragons were coming off a season the year prior in which they won the CAA and gave Notre Dame a challenge in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And from that squad, nearly everybody returned.

Despite the fanfare coming out of its previous season, Drexel didn’t exactly meet the hype in 2022. The Dragons opened the season with consecutive losses to UMBC and Lafayette. And while a four-game winning streak (UAlbany, LIU, Saint Joseph’s, Marquette) followed that slow start, Brian Voelker’s went 2-6 through the rest of the year. That stretch included three one-goal losses against Robert Morris, as well as CAA foes Towson and Delaware. Drexel ended the year with a 19-6 loss to Delaware in the CAA semifinals.

Heading into the 2023 season, Drexel returns much of its roster from a year ago. That includes six fifth-year returnees. With that, the Dragons will be looking to flip many of those close losses the experienced a year ago and challenge for the league title once again.

Burning Questions

What is The Situation at The Faceoff Dot?

The faceoff dot has been one of the weaker sports for Drexel over the past few seasons. The Dragons have gone under 50% at the dot every year since 2019 and have no faceoff man who saw significant minutes go above 50% during that time either. That includes a performance last season in which the Dragons were a bottom five team in faceoff win percentage as they went 37.8% as a whole. Liam Rosato went 75-for-166 (45.2%) as the Dragons’ top option.

Rosato is back for his senior season and is one of five faceoff men on the Drexel roster. Sophomores Grant Isika, Mike Lenskold, and Aidan Shortley all return after seeing minimal action last spring. In addition to those returners, the Dragons bring in graduate transfer Justin Joseph from LIU. As the Sharks’ top option in 2022, Joseph went 179-for-341 (52%) at the dot.

Especially with the addition to Joseph, who gets the starting nod at the dot for the Dragons is very much in question. And furthermore, whether or not Drexel can improve at the dot is very much something to watch concerning this squad.

Can The Defense Trend Back Upwards?

One of the hallmarks of this Drexel squad the past few seasons has been Tucker Durkin’s defense. Anchored by Ross Blumenthal (103 saves, 52%), the Dragons have featured plenty of talent on the back end for multiple years now. However, despite that talent and its growth, the Drexel defense backslid overall last season as they allowed 13.42 goals per game as the 57th-ranked scoring defense in college lacrosse. That is after a 2021 campaign in which the Dragons allowed 10.6 goals per game as the 22nd-ranked scoring defense in the nation.

In 2023, Drexel return Blumenthal in cage for a fifth-season, as well as a pair of starting close defensemen in Brennan Greenwald (25GB/11CT) and Patrick Udovich (18GB/8CT). Short-stick defensive midfielder George Grippo (28GB/12CT) also returns for a fifth season. Those returning pieces mean Drexel has a majority of its top-tier producers back on defense this spring.

Much of that returning talent has been at the forefront of this defense for two, or even three, seasons now. So that begs the question of whether or not this Dragons’ defense can return to the level of play seen from them in 2021.

How Strong Can The Offense Be?

Drexel’s offense last season was both pretty good and consistent last spring. The Dragons averaged 11.9 goals per game (34th in DI) and saw 64% of its scores come off assists. From that offense, the Dragons return all but two of its primary staters.

Midfielder Jack Mulcahy (19G/25A) returns for a fifth season after a season in which he notched 44 points and led the CAA in assists per game (1.78) en route to being named the conference’s offensive player of the year. Attackmen Sean Donnelly (21G/20A) and Max Semple (34G/5A) also return following stellar seasons as a sophomore and redshirt freshman. Midfielder Casey Weller (11G/3A0, who started 12 games at midfield, is another fifth-year returnee for this Dragons’ offense.

In 2022, Drexel showed that their offense could sustain even though some major personnel losses. With most of its personnel back from last season, many eyes will be on the Drexel offense and watching to see just how high it can fly in 2023.

Potential Breakout Player

Sean Curico, Midfield, Junior

Curico played in 13 games with three starts as a freshman in 2021 and was a part of the Dragon’s second midfield line in 2022. He has amassed 10 points off six goals and four assists. Curico could be one of multiple players who sees increased time and production this spring.

Freshman Class

Drexel brings in a 19-man freshman class with its 2022 recruiting efforts. The class is headlined by attackman Gavin Kelly (St. John’s. D.C.) who is rated as a four-star by Inside Lacrosse.

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