Wednesday, May 8, 2013

High Adrenaline Fusco Caps Freshman Year With CAA Honors


By Zach Smart

Yorktown's senior slinger Nick Mariano calls former teammate Frankie Fusco one of the most intense emotional leaders he’s ever played with.

Fellow Huskers senior Trevor Koelsch says playing with a high-adrenaline, team-first leader of Fusco’s fabric allows you to elevate your game.

In current Drexel teammate T.J. Foley, Mariano and Koeslch's words resonate.

“He’ll never play scared, he will never back down from anyone no matter who it is,” said Foley, who starred at cross-town rival Mahopac.

“He’s a great player coming from Yorktown, as much as I hate to say it. He’s an even better teammate. We could be playing against the All-World pro All-Star team and in his mind he’ll think we should be favored to win the game by five goals.”

There’s a certain "game time" mentality ingrained in each player.

There are players who can talk all season about delivering bone-rattling checks and warding off relentless hits on the way to the crease. Few can actually sustain that killer instinct for the grueling 48-minute grind.

 Fusco's game demeanor is hard to miss.

 The kid plays as if he’s just chugged 10 Red Bulls in the parking lot. He plays as if the other team spent the whole day hurling insults on him and his teammates. For Fusco, every moment is amplified.

Whether he is sporting a Mohawk, his patented eye black, or an irremovable chip on his shoulder, there is not a trace of trepidation.

“He’s always been like that,” explained Koelsch.

“When the game is on, he’s highly emotional. He’s motivational, he just takes it to another level. He just gets so into the game, it really comes out when he’s riding defenders and cranking up the pressure.”

 Fusco’s emergence as a key catch-and-stick target resulted in immediate production his freshman year at Drexel. Fusco emerged into a top-4 scorer in a souped-up, catch-and-stick offense.

 The freakish freshman popped 23 goals and dished out nine assists, scooping up 22 ground balls in 14 games as a starter.

Fusco's evolution provided another leg of scoring. Drexel's finely oiled machine is fueled by bangers Robert Church (team-best 33 goals, 24 assists) and Ben McIntosh (38 goals, 18 assists). The offense allows plenty of freelance, one-on-one moves.
Fusco copped two Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week for the week awards, most recently being honored on April 29 following a two-goal performance against High Point.

Fusco blasted two goals and delivered an assist as Drexel rolled to a 14-8 defeat of High Point to close out the regular season. Fusco got free for a snipe during a 7-2 spurt that opened up the game in the first half. The Yorktown native later scored on a dodge. Drexel executed a mammoth shooting barrage, putting up 56 shots to High Point’s 31.

A rollercoaster freshman season ended with an exasperating 11-8 loss to Towson at Penn State. Fusco was hyped to play against former teammates Justin Mabus and John Fennessey, but the brutal CAA semifinal loss left him rattled.

Teammates of the high-engine Fusco know this loss will linger within him, albeit there is a slight positive.

Anytime he needs a motivational kick-starter, anytime that souped-up engine of his runs out of gas, he'll refill his competitive juices with one memory of that deflating loss. 

That's how Frankie Fusco is. As his teammates will confirm, that's how he's always been.