By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After winning in its first-ever NCAA Tournament game last weekend, the Drexel Dragons men’s lacrosse team is now getting ready for the quarterfinals. On Sunday they will play the University of Denver down in Newark, Delaware, with a berth in the Final Four at stake.
13-4 Drexel beat neighborhood rival Penn in the first round, 16-11, at Franklin Field. The key stretch in this one came at the end of the first half when the Dragons scored three goals in eleven seconds, two coming courtesy of junior Nick Saputo. That explosion turned a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 halftime lead. Drexel would never trail again. It was an impressive and historic win, but head coach Brian Voelker says now they have to move on.
“Now the challenge is a really talented (Denver) team,” Voelker tells KYW Newsradio. “Hopefully, maybe it wont take three goals in eleven seconds to get us going again. We have to work hard, we have to prepare for what Denver’s going to do, we have to prepare for what we’re going to do for them.”
Listen To Podcast With Drexel Head Coach Brian Voelker:
Denver has quickly become one of the nation’s premier programs. The Pioneers are making their fifth straight NCAA appearance and they have advanced to the Final Four in two of the last three seasons. Here in 2014, they are 15-2 and riding a 12-game winning streak.
“They have probably the best coach in the country (Bill Tierney),” Voelker says. “They have a talented group of athletes. Offensively, they can really fill things up, I mean they are known for their offense. And it’s kind of strange, because when teams score as much as they do, usually it’s like a high-paced, run-and-gun type style, but they are a half-field offense. They are a 6-on-6 offense that scores a lot.”
The Dragons have already accomplished an awful lot this season, but Volelker says there is still more work to do.
“It feels really good, and again, this group’s worked really hard to get to this point,” Voelker says. “Hopefully, we’re getting greedy right now and we want more. As a coach, that’s what we’re trying to instill and that’s what we’re trying to make sure the guys understand, this ride’s really good, but you never know when you’re going to get it back. You’ve got to take advantage of it, you’ve got to work hard for it. There’s no reason, if we play our game, we can’t go out and win this game and advance to the Final Four. But it’s going to take a lot of hard work, so you’ve got to enjoy it, but you also, you’ve got to be able to put the sacrifice and the hard work in to win this next one.”
Drexel and Denver will get underway Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.