The Drexel University women’s lacrosse team opened the conference portion of its schedule with two wins to take an early lead atop the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Dragons defeated The College of William & Mary 11-9 and Old Dominion University 8-4 April 5 and 7, respectively.
“Getting two early wins in the CAA is hugely important to us,” head coach Anna Marie Vesco said. “In conference play, any team can beat anyone at any given time. We tell our girls that every possession is important. We are going to continue to take one conference game at a time, but having two wins under our belt is a great start.”
Both games featured Drexel taking a lead into halftime but flirting with disaster in the second half. In both games the Dragons were outscored in the second half, giving the opposition an opportunity to climb back into the game.
Both senior midfielder Kelli Joran and sophomore attack Alissa Watts scored three goals against the Tribe. All of Watts’ goals were in the first half, fueling the Dragons’ 7-4 lead when the horn sounded for halftime. In the second half, William & Mary scored four goals in quick succession to bring the game to a tie with 14 minutes remaining. Just three minutes later, the Dragons got some unexpected heroics from freshman midfielder Emily Duffy, who sparked a three-goal flurry to seal the 11-9 win.
Since senior Kelly Palace went down with a broken arm, Vesco has been looking to Duffy for some offensive production.
“[Duffy] stepped up in a major way this weekend. She was asked to step up and step in for Palace, our starting attacker who broke her arm. [Duffy] is a spark of energy, which is needed to give us a boost in close games such as William & Mary. We look forward to seeing her continue to excel and bring her spark to the rest of the season,” Vesco said.
The Dragons didn’t waste any time to get on the scoreboard against ODU. Watts opened the floodgates just three minutes into the first half, and the rest of the team followed, scoring five total unanswered goals in the half. The scoring continued in the second half with three more goals from Drexel, giving them a comfortable 8-0 lead. The Monarchs ended sophomore goalie Teresha Bradley’s shutout with a goal from Meredith Rogers. The goal sparked a comeback from ODU, as they scored two more unanswered goals before Vesco called a much-needed timeout to settle down her team.
“During the timeout, I told the girls to make sure we do not let ODU back in the game,” she said. “They had played hard up to that point, and we needed to continue to play smart. I told the attack to work for only smart shots and the defense to be ready for ODU to go hard to goal for the time remaining.”
After the timeout, the Dragons only gave up one more goal to hold on for an 8-4 win.
Drexel got goals from seven different players against ODU, including one from Duffy, giving her three goals on her impressive weekend.
The Dragons will host George Mason University April 12 and James Madison University April 14. GMU is currently 5-7 and 0-3 in the CAA, while JMU is right on the heels of Drexel in the standings at 7-5 on the season and 2-1 in the conference.
“I expect this weekend to be another battle,” Vesco said. “In conference games, the winner is decided by who plays harder and smarter. George Mason and James Madison are competitive programs. We are preparing the girls in practice this week to fight hard and take home two more CAA wins.”
This CAA portion of the schedule is important for the Dragons to be able to have a high seed in the CAA Tournament.