The Dragons started the season with two out-of-conference wins over George Washington University, 15-10, and Saint Joseph’s University, 18-10, but then stumbled to a loss at the hands of their rivals from across the street, the No. 7 University of Pennsylvania, and then in the CAA opener against Hofstra.
The Dragons welcomed the then-No. 11 team in the nation, Penn, to Vidas field Feb. 25. Drexel picked up the first goal of the game at the 27-minute mark when Charlotte Wood scored, capitalizing on a Penn turnover. Penn answered a minute later to knot things at one apiece. The first half remained close until Penn scored five in a row, making it 10-5 going into the locker rooms at the half.
Drexel struck first in the second half, but the Penn attack was relentless, and the Dragons could not get over the hump, ultimately falling 18-8.
Alyse Maiden led Drexel with three goals while Alissa Watts chipped in with two goals. Penn was paced by Maddi Poplawski with four goals, along with Erin Brennan and Courtney Tomchik, who each had a hat trick of their own.
The Dragons looked to resume their winning ways when they hosted Hofstra at Vidas Field on a windy afternoon. Hofstra was too much for Drexel as the Pride took the game 15-9.
Hofstra (2-2, 1-0 CAA) started the game off blisteringly hot with a goal 56 seconds into the game by Jill Maier, who would go on to net four goals in the game. Less than two minutes later, Maier was at it again with a goal scored from point-blank range. Hofstra was equally solid on the defensive end, and the Dragons were denied early and often in the first half. Hofstra scored two more goals and found themselves up 4-0 10 minutes into the game, prompting Drexel head coach Anna Marie Vesco to call a time-out.
“We tried a new defense early on,” Vesco said. “It wasn’t working for us, so we switched it up during the time-out.”
The Dragons defense did tighten up after the time-out, and the offense found its rhythm as well.
Maiden scored two goals after the time-out, and the Dragons contently went into the locker room at halftime, down 5-3.
“We had a few lapses in the beginning,” Maiden said. “We just needed to put it behind us.”
Maiden didn’t waste any time to start the second half, shaking the Pride goalie and finding the back of the net five minutes in and cutting the Hofstra lead to 5-4.
“We just wanted to chip away and take it one goal at a time,” Maiden said.
Unfortunately, the Dragons would not get any closer.
Hofstra answered Maiden’s goal with two of its own, coming less than two minutes apart. The teams then traded goals, but Drexel could never get over the hump, and with 10 minutes left Hofstra had a 9-7 lead.
“I knew we would come back from four down early on,” Vesco said. “But we had too many momentum breakers.”
After taking a time-out, Maier scored two quick goals for Hofstra, but a timely Kelli Joran goal kept the Dragons within an arm’s length. With the score 11-8 and five minutes left on the clock, Drexel had to up their pressure, and Hofstra took advantage of the defensive liabilities, closing the game on a 4-1 run.
While Maier paced the Pride with five goals, they also received two goals apiece from Brittain Altomare, Taylor Albright, Emily von Hollen and Jenn Ward.
The Dragons were once again led by Maiden with four goals. She already has 13 so far this season.
“Every time I have an opportunity, I’m trying to put it in the back of the cage,” Maiden said of her early scoring prowess.
Drexel also received contributions from Joran and Charlotte Wood with two apiece and one from Amanda Norcini.
It will be a quick turnaround for Drexel as they take on Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. March 3.
“We need to improve on the little things,” Vesco said on moving forward. “We need to be more disciplined on defense.”