The Drexel University women’s lacrosse team won their final game of the regular season at home April 30.
The team hosted the Hofstra University Pride and defeated them 8-5, clinching a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association Championships. The team will be returning to the championships after a two-year absence.
The team’s graduating seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony where coach Hannah Rudloff shared her thoughts on their contributions to the team and their accomplishments throughout the season.
“All year these seniors have built such a strong foundation for our team. It’s been amazing having [our] seniors Maddie DiBrino, Lou Kalitz, Summer O’Donnell, Eva Winiarski and Milan White starting on defense together. They’re able to gel together in a way that can’t be manufactured without countless hours of playing together. To have that kind of experience on the defensive end, and to have Emmy Duffey, who has been such an impact player since her freshman year, managing a fairly young attack unit has been a strong balance for us this season,” Rudloff expressed.
Junior Lacey Aghazarian led the Dragons in scoring later that day with four goals, bringing her to 22 goals this season. She was the fourth Dragon on the roster this year with at least 20 goals. Emily Duffey contributed two goals and an assist; while Nadia Pelham-Lacey had one goal with two assists.
The stakes were high for the team as this game was crucial in securing a spot in the CAA championships.
“Going into the game we were really focused on managing our emotions, given that it was senior day and alumni day, with our entire playoff hopes on the line. I told the girls to think of this game as if it was taking place in the middle of the season, and not to give it any crazy significance just because it happened to come last on the schedule. I think our players did a fantastic job buying into that and staying level-headed throughout the day and game,” Rudloff said.
The teams’ play was pretty even at the beginning of the game. Neither team led by more than one point at any time during the first half. The Dragons got on the board first with a score from Duffey off a feed from Pelham-Lacey. The Pride responded, but Drexel came back with a goal from Aghazarian.
In the last 10 minutes of the first half, the teams scored five goals between them in an exciting offense effort. Aghazarian added another unassisted goal, but the Pride scored two goals of their own and led 4-3 with less than five minutes left before halftime. Just before the break, Pelham-Lacey tied up the game at 4-4.
To start things off in the second half, Maggie Stetson registered her sixth goal of the season to put the Dragons up 5-4.
After Hofstra tied the game at 5-5, Aghazarian scored her third goal of the day, making this the second hat trick of her career.
With 15 minutes remaining in regulation, the Dragons began to take time off the clock and maintain their lead. Drexel successfully stalled for eight minutes before Hofstra was able to force a turnover and regain possession. Fortunately, the Pride could not capitalize on the opportunity and Caroline Thiele forced a turnover to bring the ball back into the offensive end for Drexel.
After stalling more time off the clock, the Dragons found themselves with a wide-open net. Pelham-Lacey assisted Aghazarian for her fourth goal of the contest bringing the score to its final 8-5.
Milan White made history just before the halftime break of the game as the sixth Dragon in team history to win 100 draws.
The Dragons will play next against James Madison University in the first round of the CAA tournament.
“We played JMU very early in the CAA schedule, and learned a lot from that game that helped us throughout the rest of CAA play. In our preparations, we are going to reflect on those improvements we made and try to build on them even more for championship weekend,” coach Rudloff said.
Drexel is the No. 4 seed and JMU is the No. 1 seed. The game will take place at Vidas Field Friday, May 6 at 1 p.m.