The Dragons scored the first goal of the contest when Devin Nihill took a close shot off a pass from Emily Kellett. Nihill now has seven goals on the season. La Salle quickly took the lead, scoring the next two goals.
With just over 10 minutes left in the first half, senior midfielder Ashley Bupp recorded her first career goal for Drexel. Bupp received an assist from Joelle Hartke as she drilled the ball into the net with an overhand shot.
“It felt great,” Bupp said of her first career marker. “We work really hard in practice each and every day shooting and scoring tons of goals as a team. Knowing our attack can trust everyone with putting the ball in the back of the net and doing their part is what I think gives each one of us the confidence we need to succeed out there. It’s great to feel like I could do my part as well.”
Alissa Watts scored next for the Dragons, followed by scores from Kellett, Milan White and Hartke. The onslaught from the Dragons put them in a comfortable spot as they entered halftime with a commanding 7-3 lead.
After the break, the Explorers began to gain momentum, winning nine of 12 draw controls. La Salle scored four third-quarter goals, while Drexel responded with three of its own, making the score 10-7 with one quarter remaining.
Lacey Aghazarian scored for the Dragons, extending the lead to four goals. Drexel then displayed an impressive defensive showing, holding off the Explorers for the majority of the final quarter. Teresha Bradley had eight saves in total.
Head coach Hannah Rudloff said after the game that she was extremely pleased with the way her team competed and performed on the defensive end against La Salle.
“Overall, we’ve had some really amazing defensive performances against ranked teams,” Rudloff said. “We held [the Pennsylvania State University] and Princeton [University] to their lowest scores so far this year…[and] the offense is starting to click and find [its] pace and tempo.”
With less than two minutes remaining in the contest, La Salle notched a pair of goals to cut Drexel’s lead in half. However, Hartke responded for the Dragons with an empty net goal to secure the 12-10 victory.
The Dragons will return to action April 3 at Vidas Field when they face off against The College of William & Mary. The Tribe are currently 4-6 on the season.
Going into conference play, Rudloff noted that a few things could be improved upon to set the team up for success.
“I think we can always improve upon putting a full game together mentally,” she said. “You’re going to have lapses and the other team is going to score, but I think we can do a better job of stopping runs and chipping away with strong and focused possessions and defensive sets of our own.”
The team will look to capitalize on the strengths they have discovered through the first 10 matches as they head into conference play.
“We’re going into [Colonial Athletic Association play] confident in what Drexel lacrosse is —we can defend against strong teams and we know offensively what’s clicking for us,” Rudloff said. “Our leadership at both ends of the field has really come into [its] own and that’s such an important piece that all championship teams have.”