Don't look now, but Baltimore's status as the capital of the lacrosse world may be facing a new challenge from another northern city.

Granted, Philadelphia's rise up the lacrosse ranks is nascent and largely confined, for now, to Penn's women's team, which drew a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, and the Drexel men's team, but the journey of 1,000 miles can start with a couple of sticks.

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Unlike the Quakers, the Dragons (11-5) were unable to crack the NCAA field of 16, just missing out on an at-large bid. But the future looks bright at the West Philadelphia school, which loses just five seniors.

Drexel, which finished tied for first with Towson in the Colonial Athletic Association regular season, lost, 11-7, to Delaware in the conference semifinals last week before an enthusiastic home crowd.

"This group has done all of us proud," Drexel coach Chris Bates told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They fought and competed all year. I think that (the reaction) was the fans showing their appreciation for the year we had."

It was, to be sure, an impressive year at Drexel, which included a first-ever win over Hofstra and a season-opening 11-10 road win over defending national champion Virginia, two of three victories over Top 20 teams.

The 11 wins tied for second most in program history and the program made it all the way to 15th in the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll.

Five players from Baltimore-area schools are on the Drexel roster but, perhaps more importantly, more than a third of the Dragons' 45-man roster is from the Philadelphia area. That bodes well for the future, assuming the City of Brotherly Love can continue to crank out talent.

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