The Drexel women’s lacrosse team won a hard fought game, 9-8, against Towson University April 6, a breath of fresh air as the team entered the game following four straight losses.
This was a crucial game for the Dragons after falling to conference foe University of Delaware April 4. With four more conference games to be played, the team took the field with a mission to get back on track. Defense and smart ball movement was the name of the game for the Dragons in the first half.
The game started quickly with junior goalie Teresha Bradley stopping the Tigers from grabbing early momentum. Three minutes into the game, sophomore midfielder Emily Duffey scored her 11th goal of the season to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead. The Dragons used this momentum for the rest of the half as they played energetic defense and smart offense.
But Towson made sure to not let the game slip away early as the Tigers’ Andi Raymond scored to tie the game at one. Less than a minute later, though, Drexel regained control when sophomore midfielder Milan White scored her fourth goal of the season on an impressive assist from senior attacker Kelly Palace.
The offense would not stop there — less than a minute after White’s goal, junior attacker Alissa Watts made a great move to free herself over the middle and scored her ninth goal of the season.
Defensively, the Dragons were playing just as well as their offense. After a great defensive set which included another great save by Bradley, Drexel turned the ball over. This, however, was not a problem for a defense that was playing with incredible energy. The Dragons forced a turnover themselves and gave the ball back to their offense, which was only just warming up. Junior midfielder Joelle Hartke scored her 15th goal of the season after a foul was called on Towson to give the Dragons a commanding 4-1 lead.
It seemed as if every time the Dragons’ offense was able to get set, Towson would have no answer for their great execution. Just 30 seconds after Hartke’s marker, Palace scored her 24th goal of the season off an assist from senior midfielder Amanda Norcini, giving Drexel a 5-1 lead and a nice four-point cushion.
But the cushion was quickly pulled out from under the Dragons as Towson made a push to narrow the deficit.
After a foul was called, Towson’s Raymond scored her second goal of the game and her 33rd of the season. Drexel’s offense would not be stopped, however, as Watts found the back of the net once again, this time off of an assist from Hartke. The Dragons’ offense was clicking in the first half of the game as four of the team’s six goals were assisted on.
Towson scored one more goal to make the game 6-3 in favor of the Dragons, one more goal than they scored during the entire game against Delaware. The defense was also much improved from the four-game stretch of losses.
But Drexel lost some of its momentum early in the second half, which saw another comeback push from Towson. The Tigers drew first blood with Taylor Moore’s 21st goal of the season, and just five minutes later Towson scored another goal, bringing the game within one with nearly 25 minutes to play.
It seemed as though the entire Towson team found a much needed energy boost in the second half. Towson goalie Kelsea Donnelly made an important save to keep Towson down only one, but Drexel goalie Bradley would respond with her own save to try and give the Dragons momentum for a much needed offensive surge.
On the heels of a somewhat controversial call, Towson scored its game-tying sixth goal. However the Dragons were not deterred as they kept battling through their second half woes. Drexel finally found some offense from Watts who scored on an assist from Norcini, putting Drexel back on top by one. The goal did, however, come with a price as Watts appeared to injure her knee on the play.
Watts was taken off the field with help from her coaches and teammates, adding more fire to the Dragons’ bellies. From that point on the game took on the likeness of a seesaw, going back and forth until Towson scored two straight to take an 8-7 lead.
But Drexel would not be discouraged. With just six minutes left, Palace scored with an assist from Norcini to tie the game at eight. And, ice prominently in her veins, Palace scored once more — with just 27 seconds to play — to give the Dragons the 9-8 lead.
Her clutch goal would be the last offense for either team, and the Dragons hung on to win a much needed conference game, 9-8. Maybe more importantly, however, the Dragons stopped their four-game skid.
Head coach of the Dragons Hannah Rudloff was happy about the growth her team has shown.
“Whether it’s close or not, the bigger thing is that we got the W,” Rudloff said. “We’ve grown so much as a unit, and we are so young, and to finally put together an intelligent game for 60 minutes means everything for this program.”
Drexel will play Monmouth University April 12 and look to keep their good fortunes going, hopefully keeping all of those in the stands in mind and not making the game another chest pounder.