Dragons Come Back to Defeat UMass and Advance to CAA Title Game

01 Dec 2021 | 07:42 | Lacrosse

Dragons Come Back to Defeat UMass and Advance to CAA Title Game

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Drexel scored nine-straight goals to start the second half to overcome a four-goal deficit and defeat UMass, 13-8, in the CAA Semifinals on Thursday night at Shuart Stadium. Freshman Sean Donnelly scored five goals and had two assists, while senior Aidan Coll scored four times as the Dragons (9-2) won their eighth-straight game. Drexel will face fourth-seeded Hofstra in the championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Minutemen (4-6) scored three times in the first quarter and held the Dragons to just two shots on goal in the opening 15 minutes. UMass opened the scoring just 46 seconds into the game when Jeff Trainor beat Ross Blumenthal on the first shot of the contest. Devin Spencer and Billy Philpott added goals as the Minutemen held the Dragons off the board in the opening quarter

UMass started the second on the man-up after a third Drexel face-off violation. Philpott made quick work on the extra man, scoring just 11 seconds into the quarter. When Kevin Tobin scored an unassisted goal just 1:33 later, the Minutemen took a five-goal lead. Drexel finally snapped the scoreless drought after more than 20 minutes when Sean Donnelly found Aidan Coll from behind the net to make it 5-1. Donnelly then made a nifty move out front, turned and fired to cut the deficit to 5-2 with 4:27 to play in the half. The Minutemen took less than 90 seconds to answer when Dillon Arrant finished off a feed from Kevin Tobin on the man-up, making the score 6-2 at intermission. UMass goalie Matt Knote made eight saves in the half.

Drexel’s offense came alive in the second half. The Dragons rattled off nine-straight goals, to turn a four-goal deficit into a five-goal advantage. Coll started the run early with his second of the night. A few minutes later, Reid Bowering added to his list of highlight-reel goals. This time, the graduate student picked off an errant pass by Knote and walked in uncontested on the open net, getting the Dragons back to within two. It was Donnelly’s turn next. The redshirt freshman scored twice in the span of 65 seconds to even the game at 6-6. With less than two minutes to play in the third, Jack Mulcahy gave the Dragons the lead for the first time. His lefty runner made it 7-6. The Dragons would not trail again. Coll opened the fourth quarter with two more goals, one of the unlikely variety. With the ball loose near the end line, Ryan Genord somehow snagged the ball before going out of bounds. He flung it over his shoulder into the waiting stick of Coll, who was at the crease and finished the play completing his hat trick. His next goal gave him 29 on the season. Donnelly and Bowering each scored another before UMass was able to finally get on the board with a Trainor goal with eight minutes left in the game. That goal broke a UMass drought of more than 25 minutes without a goal. Sean Quinn got on the board with 4:57 to play as the Minutmen tried a 10-man ride. Quinn fired a shot from midfield into an open net for his first of the  season. UMass added one more goal before Donnelly added a late insurance goal giving him five on the evening.

Donnelly led all scorers with five goals and two assists, which are one goal and one point off the CAA Championship records. Coll added four goals and one assist and Bowering had two goals and an assist. Drexel junior goalkeeper Ross Blumenthal recorded 10 saves in the contest. He stopped all four shots in the third quarter as Drexel took control of the game.

Kevin Tobin had two goals and three assists, while Trainor and Philpott each added two goals for the Minutemen. Sophomore goalkeeper Matt Knote recorded 18 saves for UMass.

Drexel outshot UMass, 48-31, but a big difference in the second half was the play of Drexel faceoff specialist Jimmeh Koita. The senior was 10-for-15 in the second half and gave Drexel a significant advantage in possession time. Koita finished the day 14 of 25 and led DU with eight ground balls.

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