For the first time since 2006, the Drexel University women’s lacrosse team is 5-0 to start the season. The Dragons defeated city rivals Saint Joseph’s University and Villanova University March 1 and 3, respectively.
“It feels really good to win out against the Philly teams this year considering the amount of competition Philly has,” head coach Anna Marie Vesco said. “We’re very proud to represent West Philly and look forward to continuing to do so throughout the season. Now it’s time to take the state against [The Pennsylvania State University] later this month.”
Senior Kelli Joran continued her monster season, scoring another hat trick, her fourth of the season, against St. Joe’s and adding two more against Villanova. Senior Alyse Maiden also broke out of her early-season slump, scoring four goals of the season against Nova.
St. Joe’s was undefeated coming into the game, having beaten Niagara University and Wagner College. Drexel traveled across town to face the Hawks in their second straight game against a Philadelphia team. The Dragons got on the board early with back-to-back goals from senior midfielder Kristin Kopenhaver and attacker Jessica Rudloff to make it 2-0. St. Joe’s answered with back-to-back goals by Julia Falcone to bring the game to a 2-2 tie. Both teams exchanged goals after that, ending the first half in a 3-3 tie.
Joran scored her second goal of the game to start the second half, giving the Dragons a one-goal lead. The Hawks answered soon after to bring the game back to a tie. Drexel scored back-to-back goals from junior midfielder Amanda Norcini and Joran to complete her hat trick. Falcone scored her third and fourth goals of the game to bring the game to a 6-6 tie. The game remained tied until sophomore midfielder Joelle Hartke scored with 5:27 remaining. Hartke scored again to put an exclamation point on the win with 1:38 remaining, sealing Drexel’s 8-6 win.
“We always emphasize ‘answering back’ to goals that happen against us, and the girls don’t have to be asked to do so,” Vesco said. “We have a team of athletes who will continue to fight for the lead for 60 minutes. It’s just not in us to give up.”
Five days later the Dragons welcomed the Wildcats to Vidas Field for their third and final matchup against Philadelphia-area opponents. Villanova was 1-2 coming into the game, losing to Lehigh University and Princeton University but beating Central Connecticut State University. The Dragons came out slow in this one, allowing two early goals. They answered with four unanswered goals by Norcini, Maiden, Kopenhaver and Joran. The Wildcats answered back with a goal of their own, but the Dragons scored three goals by Maiden, Rudloff and Joran to end the first half 7-3.
Maiden opened the scoring for the Dragons, completing her second hat trick of the season. But the Wildcats answered with a goal of their own. Drexel answered with back-to-back goals from Rudloff and Norcini. Nova answered with a goal, but Maiden scored another, increasing her total to four on the game. Nova kept pace, scoring again, but the Dragons scored back-to-back goals to widen the lead to a seemingly insurmountable 13-6. Both teams traded goals again, but with eight minutes remaining the Wildcats started to mount a comeback. Nova scored three unanswered goals at the end of the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Dragons’ lead. The final buzzer sounded, and Drexel prevailed 14-10.
The Dragons will travel to Baltimore to face the University of Maryland, Baltimore County March 9. UMBC is currently 3-2 on the season.