PHILADELPHIA - The Drexel men's lacrosse team got its first win of 2013 in memorable fashion on Saturday afternoon, overcoming a seven-goal deficit to defeat No. 16 Albany, 20-19. The game was the Dragons' home opener, and saw them fight back from a 7-1 hole after the first quarter. Drexel was able to grab the lead by the end of the third quarter, and hung on as four late Albany scores were not enough to get the Great Danes back even.
Ben McIntosh and Nick Trizano had four goals apiece for the Dragons (1-1). Each also had two assists in the game, the highest scoring for a Drexel men's lacrosse team since a 21-11 win over Saint Joseph's on April 28, 1998. Aaron Prosser had three goals and three assists including the eventual game winning goal with 42 seconds to play. Ryan Belka added a hat trick and two assists and Frank Fusco had three goals.
Albany (1-1) got off to a hot start, scoring the game's first four goals and three times in the first three minutes. McIntosh scored off a pass from Belka to get Drexel on the board with 8:06 remaining in the first quarter, but the Great Danes would respond with three more goals, including the first from Ryan Feuerstein, who would lead Albany with four goals on the day. Lyle Thompson, who had a team-best nine points for Albany, would assist on two of their goals in the first quarter.
After the outburst of Albany goals in the first quarter, neither team could put much together to start the second. Drexel finally broke through with 6:27 to play in the period when Nick Trizano scored off a feed from Aaron Prosser. The duo would do it again just 43 seconds later when Trizano's second goal of the afternoon made it 7-3. Albany again had an answer, though, scoring three straight to build its largest lead of the day, 10-3.
As Albany's sideline got more boisterous with every goal, Drexel dug in, making an important late statement in the first half. With 1:37 remaining in the period, Belka got his first score of the day off a feed from McIntosh. Drexel won the faceoff and Robert Church scored 30 seconds later. The last 1:07 would be played without a goal as the Dragons went into the break down 10-5.
Despite being outdone on the day 21-19, Drexel faceoff specialist Nick Saputo came up big in critical moments, including the late Dragon push in the second quarter and their dizzying flurry to star the third. Saputo kept the ball out of Albany's sticks for the first four possessions of the second half, all leading to Drexel goals as a five-goal deficit was suddenly cut to one. Saputo took care of business himself 11 seconds into the half to make it 10-6, followed by goals from Prosser, Trizano and Belka that made it 10-9 with 11:27 remaining in the period.
After two Albany goals, the Dragons charged back yet again. Trizano started it with an unassisted goal with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter. An Albany penalty put Drexel a man up, and McIntosh took advantage, scoring off a feed from Church. Church also had a hand in Drexel's next goal, Frank Fusco's first of the day that tied the score at 12-12 with 2:57 remaining in the period. The Dragons would take their first lead moments later, another Fusco score just 35 seconds after his first.
Drexel did not trail from that point on, though the Danes were able to tie things up at 14 just 14 seconds into the fourth quarter. After that, the Dragons rattled off five of the game's next six goals, building their largest lead at 19-15 with 7:14 to play.
Albany would not go quietly. The Danes, who scored in such tremendous bunches in the first half, had three tallies in 2:20 late in the fourth quarter to make it a 19-18 contest with 2:17 to play. Then, as Drexel gained possession and held the ball with under a minute to go, Andrew Vivian took the ball behind the net, passing it over the top to Prosser who slammed the ball into the net with 42 seconds remianing to put Drexel up 20-18. The Danes would add another score with 18 seconds remaining and won the ensuing faceoff, but Drexel was able to muster one last defensive stop to preserve the upset victory.
Drexel is now even on the season after a one-goal heartbreaker at No. 7 Virginia to open their campaign. The Dragons will host Villanova in their next outing, Tuesday night at Vidas Field at 7:00 p.m.