In order to find a game between Drexel and Virginia that was not decided by one goal, you have to go back to 2011 when the eventual National Champion Virginia defeated the Dragons 12-9. In that game, Chris Bocklet scored four goals and the notorious Shamel Bratton added a hat trick.
2012? Virginia won 9-8.
2013? Virginia won 13-12.
2014? Virginia won 11-10.
So, when No.16 Drexel came into cold Charlottesville Saturday night, it wouldn't be a stretch to expect a close, back and forth affair. The Dragons came out swinging, controlling just about every aspect of play as they cruised to a 3-0 lead in the first ten minutes or so.
Tyler German broke open the scoring for No.9 Virginia, followed less than a minute later by fellow midfielder Greg Coholan to cut the deficit to 3-2. Drexel scored to stretch the lead back to two, but back to back goals by Owen Van Arsdale and Tyler German tied it up at four apiece.
The Hoos kept rolling behind two goals from Ryan Tucker, and the Dragons never got closer than a goal for the rest of the game. Zed Williams and James Pannell scored to give Virginia an 8-6 lead at halftime, as snow delicately started falling all over Klöcker and the 1,489 fans in attendance.
Then the delicate snow turned into snowpocalypse, delaying the game after the conclusion of halftime for another 15 minutes. Still, there was fun to be had.
After the break, Drexel won the faceoff and held possession for over five minutes, culminating in nine shots but no goal. James Pannell made short work on attack, scoring the second of his two goals and giving Virginia a cushy three goal lead. Owen Van Arsdale scored just after that, and face off man Jeff Kratky took one himself and hit pay dirt to extend the Hoos' lead to 11-6.
Drexel stopped the bleeding, but it wasn't enough down the stretch as Ryan Lukacovic scored two and Van Arsdale capped off the triple, leading to a final score of 14-10.
Matt Barrett started off slowly in goal, but finished with 12 saves, seven of which came in the second half. The defense put forth an amazing effort, led by reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Week Davi Sacco. Sacco caused four turnovers, collected three ground balls, turned it over zero times, and stayed out of the penalty box. Michael Howard, a LSM, had three ground balls, three caused turnovers and no turnovers or penalties.
For a unit with so many new and inexperienced players, the defense has been nothing short of amazing in the first two games. They work well together, communicate, and don't give up anything too easily. They are learning as they go, and are improving at an exponential rate. Playing the attack units of Loyola and Drexel isn't what they'll face when they go to Syracuse (March 2), or against UNC (April 3), but it's a great starting point.
Virginia hassled Drexel on the clears, who only converted 12-17. The Hoos struggled against Nick Zaputo, who won 17 of 28 at the X (59%). Drexel was led by Ryan Belka and Jules Raucci, both with two goals apiece.
Next up, Virginia goes to Rutgers on Saturday.