Brian Voelker has felt the good vibes flowing in Drexel’s direction, and the new Dragons head coach isn’t buying into the hype just yet.
"I don’t take a lot of stock in preseason polls or how good people think we’re going to be or not going to be," he said. "The bottom line is, we’ve got a lot of work to do before our first game against Virginia, and the kids have responded well. We just need to go out and do the things that we need to do to be successful this year. I think if we catch some breaks and some guys step up, we can be a pretty talented team. But that’s not just going to happen on its own. We’ve got to go out and work for it. It’s going to be a fun year, but also a challenging year."
Voelker, a Gilman and Johns Hopkins graduate, certainly inherited a talented squad when he succeeded Chris Bates, who departed for Princeton, this past summer. Four of last year’s top five scorers are back for another round, and Mark Manos looks to build on last season when he was named the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year.
Voelker, who had spent the previous seven years as the head coach at Penn, said the transition was been easy thanks to the players’ receptiveness.
"The kids have responded well," he said. "We thought they worked hard for us in the fall and came back in pretty good shape for the start of practice last Monday. The six practices, seven practices that we’ve had, the guys have done a good job. They’ve worked hard, they’ve done everything that we asked them to, and we’re looking forward to a great season with good kids in a great conference. There’s a lot of support from the university for the lacrosse program, and we’re looking for big things out of the program."
Drexel has never been to the NCAA Tournament and must deal with traditional powers Hofstra, Towson and Delaware in the CAA. Voelker said he is well aware of the pitfalls that lie ahead for the Dragons.
"When I look at our schedule and I look at our league, if there’s a breather, I don’t know where it is," he said. "I expect the other teams in our league to be very good teams. I think all of them have a chance to be top- 20 and some of them have a chance to be a top-10 or top-5 team. So it’s going to be a tough league, and that’s a good thing. You’ve got to play well week in and week out when the league starts or things could go down quickly. But I feel that we can be as good as anybody in the league and can compete for the CAA championship. That’s what our goal is. It’s not going to be easy to do, but that’s what our goal is."