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U.S. Open Week is Upon Us September 27, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Squash, Women's Squash.
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There is a buzz around the DAC this week, as the U.S. Open Squash Championships are getting set to take place starting on Friday, September 30. Thirty-two of the top male and 16 of the top female players in the world will be competing for a total of $175,000 in combined prize money.

Now, if you’re like a lot of us, you didn’t know that squash was anything more than a food you probably only find on the table at Thanksgiving. But being at a squash tournament can actually be extremely exciting, with two athletes on the enclosed, tiny court maneuvering around each other and firing the ball exactly where they want it to go. It looks almost impossible to believe that players aren’t routinely gashed in the face with the rackets, but just watching the footwork and the chess-like strategy of the game can be fascinating, especially with such high-level players as will be at Drexel this week. It’s worth a look, and will give you a good opportunity to get your championship buzz going before you head down to Citizens Bank Park for the Phillies playoff run.

For any information you might want on squash, we turn to Wikipedia, or as Michael Scott once called it, “the best thing ever.” OK, it might not always be perfect, but this should give you a good primer on the basic rules and concepts of the game if you are coming into this week blind.

For tickets and information on the week’s schedule, visit the U.S. Open Squash website.

Here are a few YouTube videos that should help you get a better understanding of the game and what you’re in store for at the DAC this week:

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Playing with Fire September 23, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Women's Basketball.
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Just a friendly warning to the rest of the CAA. If you mess with the Drexel women’s basketball team, prepare to get burned.

The Dragons were split into three groups to build their own dragon models this week, and it’s safe to say that one toasted the competition. Here’s Marisa Crane activating her group’s fire-breathing dragon:

It obviously got the attention of Associate Head Coach/camerawoman Amy Mallon, who forgot about her filming duties for a little bit after ignition. But if you were standing feet away from a fire breathing dragon, you would too.

Trotting Up the Rocky Steps with Women’s Crew September 22, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Women's Crew.
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In preparation for their season-opening race at the Rumson Boat Race on Saturday, the Drexel women’s crew team went for a run this morning, culminating with a dash up the famous “Rocky steps” of the Philadelphia Art Museum. At the top, they were greeted by Harlem Globetrotter Blenda Rodriguez, doing a promotion in town this week. Rodriguez is known for his ball-handling abilities, but let’s see him pick up an oar and glide down the Schuylkill the way he can maneuver his way down a court.

John White Advances to Legends Final, and more from squash September 19, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Men's Squash.
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As he prepares for the upcoming U.S. Open Squash tournament, Drexel Squash Head Coach John White has advanced to the final of the St. George’s Legends of Squash event and will face Anthony Ricketts for the championship on Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. local time.

White advanced to the final after putting together a 3-0 record in group play to claim the Group A crown. The former world-number one player opened the tournament on Friday with an 11-8, 11-8 victory over Nick Taylor. Then on Saturday, he edged Tim Garner 9-11, 11-6, 11-3.

Sunday’s match saw White grind out a 13-11 triumph in the first game before finishing off Jonathon Power with an 11-5 thumping in the second.


White’s opponent in the final, Anthony Ricketts, also went 3-0 in group play. The Legends tournament is his first competitive squash event since 2007.

Meanwhile, CollegeSquashAssociation.com has released its preview of the inaugural season of Drexel men’s squash. In addition to examining the Dragons’ ascent to the varsity level, the preview offers fans the first look at the three players expect to sit atop the Dragons’ ladder this season. For more, visit CSA’s preview here.

Wrapping Up Italy: Photo Albums September 15, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Women's Basketball.
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Now that we have all gotten over jet lag, we’re starting to put up full collections of photos from the trip to Italy. To get it started, here is some of the outstanding photography of strength & conditioning coach Michael Rankin.

Mike Rankin’s Italy photos

Rankin has also started a second album, which anyone who was on the trip can upload their photos to. Keep an eye here for some of the photos taken by the staff and the players while we were in Italy:

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Back Home to Philadelphia September 12, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Women's Basketball.
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After a final day in Rome, which culminated with a nice team dinner at a small restaurant near the Pantheon and photos at a bridge crossing the river with a great view of St. Peter’s Basilica, the team woke up early Monday and headed for the airport. The flight took off a little before noon Rome time, and landed 10 hours later at 4:00 pm eastern.

Now, the team is boarding a bus from the Philadelphia International Airport to Drexel, where they will have a few more days of summer before classes start next week.

Italy now behind them, the women’s basketball team will look forward to another run to a CAA championship beginning in just a few short months. The schedule will be announced on DrexelDragons.com later this week, so stay tuned, and keep checking the Den for updates on them and the rest of the Dragons’ teams all year long!

Volterra and San Gimignano September 10, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Women's Basketball.
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The final full day in Tuscany for the Dragons women’s basketball team gave them a real taste of the region, with tours of the ancient towns of Volterra and San Gimignano. The girls had two more guided tours through the narrow, ancient streets, their final guided tours of the Italy trip.

First up was Volterra, an important town which dates back more than 2,000 years and contributed significantly to the culture of the ancient Roman empire, particularly with respect to architecture. The tour took the Dragons past the town’s center and cathedral, and ended up looking over the ruins of an old amphitheater, with Roman columns for a backdrop and the same seating design as the Colisseum.

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The team has made some friends over in Italy over the past week. Today, while walking through Tuscany, they found another:

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With an even older feel than Volterra, San Gimignano sits atop a hill and is important primarily for its artistic history. There, many medieval artworks are preserved in their original – often outdoor – locations, unlike the protected museum works of cities such as Florence.

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San Gimignano is also important as the home of Gelateria di Piazza, the two-time Gelato World Champions. Here, Kamile Nacickaite and Mike Rankin pose with their cones:

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The team is on its own for dinner this evening, and will head to Rome tomorrow for one final day in Italy before returning to Philadelphia on Monday.

Coach Mallon’s Pics September 9, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Women's Basketball.
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Associate Head Coach Amy Mallon has sent along a few of her favorite pictures from the trip so far, and wanted to share them with you. There will be more to come of pictures taken by everyone on the trip when we reach the conclusion, but for now, here’s a taste of what’s to come:

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Next Stop: Siena September 9, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Women's Basketball.
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The Dragons left their Florence hotel on Friday morning and hit the road for Siena, a hilltop town that in many areas looks untouched for centuries. After a quick lunch – not quick enough for many of the girls, who had to scarf down food after slow service at a local restaurant – the team met their Siena tour guide and began a walking tour of the town.

Siena is divided into 17 districts named primarily after animals. Appropriately, the tour began in the Dragon District. A few Dragons found their uniform numbers on the houses and stopped to take a picture.

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The tour wound through several districts, stopping briefly at the University of Siena, where the team paused for a picture.

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Eventually, the group made their way to the Piazza del Campo, the town center around which a horse race is held every August. Although the half of the square that was in the sun was largely desolate, the part that was in the shade was packed with people relaxing.

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The tour concluded at the town’s cathedral, where the group split off with some headed back to the hotel for a rest and some going shopping until a team dinner at 7. Drexel will spend two nights in Siena before returning to Rome on Sunday for its final day in Italy.

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Italy Game Four: La Spezia 67, Drexel 64 September 8, 2011

Posted by Sam Angell in Uncategorized.
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The Drexel women’s basketball team’s exhibition tour of Italy concluded – at least on the basketball court – on Thursday evening when they fell in a nailbiter at La Spezia, 67-64. The hosts led most of the way, but Drexel had chances to take the lead in the final minute and a shot to tie it at the buzzer that fell short.

 

Hollie Mershon led the Dragons with 17 points, converting a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. Kamile Nacickaite added 14 points and six rebounds. Taylor Wootton knocked down eight points and matched Nacickaite’s team lead with six boards.

 

The Dragons came out shooting flat, but buckled down on defense and scratched their way back to a 13-13 tie at the first intermission. In the second quarter, La Spezia began to take over, and grabbed a nine-point lead midway through the frame.

 

Drexel fought back, though, and cut the deficit to 29-27 at halftime. Then with 7:14 to play in the third quarter, the Dragons took what would prove to be their first and only lead of the game, 32-31.

 

After the Dragons seized the advantage, La Spezia went on a 12-2 run, and eventually led 48-39 going into the fourth quarter. But again, Drexel rebounded, as Nacickaite knocked down the first six points of the period to pull the Dragons back within three.

 

The score stayed in that area for the rest of the way, with Drexel pulling within a possession only to see La Spezia string together a couple of hoops of their own. In the final two minutes, the Dragons turned up the defensive pressure, and La Spezia looked unprepared to deal with the Drexel press. Nacickaite came up with a big block just under two minutes to play, and Fiona Flanagan nabbed a steal with under a minute on the clock that led directly to a Mershon lay-in to cut the deficit to two.

 

La Spezia hit two free throws with 10.3 seconds to go to make the score 67-64, and after the Dragons inbounded the ball and found Mershon at the top of the key, the Italian defense swarmed around her. She got a shot off before the buzzer sounded, but it hit the front iron.

 

Drexel will now continue their tour of Italy, heading to Siena tomorrow and back to Rome on Sunday morning. Stay tuned to the Dragons Den for more updates throughout the rest of the tour.