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Lacrosse Preview: Drexel

Virginia opens its home schedule against a familiar foe from the Colonial Athletic Association

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Who: #16/18 Drexel Dragons
When: Saturday, February 14, 5:30 PM
Where: Klockner Stadium
How to Watch: Live video on VirginiaSports.com ($)

The 1-0 Virginia Cavaliers return to Charlottesville for a top-20 showdown against Drexel.

Coming off a close-fought 13-12 upset win at Loyola, the Hoos square off against an opponent with a knack for one-goal games. In the past two seasons, Drexel has won 7 games by one goal; in the last three games against Virginia, each game has been a one-goal Virginia victory.

Drexel was picked to finish second in the CAA behind Hofstra. The Dragons' offense is led by sophomore attack Cole Shafer and senior midfielder Ryan Belka. Shafer and Belka were both preseason first-team CAA picks, as was faceoff specialist Nick Saputo. Shafer paced the Dragons in last year's Virginia game with 4 goals and an assist.

Saputo could very well be the key to this year's game. Last year against Virginia, he dominated the faceoff X, winning 19 of 25 draws and nearly propelling Drexel to an early-season win. After Virginia's 9-for-28 performance against Loyola, this is clearly a weakness that opponents will look to exploit all season.

Look for the Hoos to continue running the offense through Greg Coholan, whose 4 goals and 5 total points against Loyola secured him ACC Offensive Player of the Week honors. The young defense will look to continue improving behind the guidance of former walk-on Davi Sacco, who joined Coholan as the conference's Defensive Player of the Week.

Ticket-holders from the men's basketball game against Wake Forest will gain free admission for the lacrosse game by displaying their JPJ ticket stub. Be sure to bundle up: temperatures are expected to drop rapidly in Charlottesville on Saturday afternoon, with wind chills in the low 20s.