It was a bittersweet final game for the Drexel women’s lacrosse team: Sweet because the team honored Amanda Norcini and Kelly Palace on Senior Day, but bitter because it turned out to be their final game as Drexel Dragons.
The team lost to Hofstra University, 10-2, in the final game of the regular season. By losing the game, the Dragons lost the fourth and final spot in the CAA Tournament.
During the opening minutes of the game, both teams were playing energetic defense, and despite an abundance of chances for both sides, neither team’s offense could get in gear.
With just over eight minutes off the game clock, Hofstra made a push to score the first goal of the game. Junior goalkeeper Teresha Bradley made a nice save on Hofstra’s first attempt of the possession, but Drexel could not control the ball after the save and the Pride took advantage, scoring a goal to take the early 1-0 lead.
The Dragons remained unable to find a comfortable offensive flow following the first goal of the game, which led to another Hofstra scoring chance on a pair of Norcini fouls, neither of which came to fruition.
The Dragons quickly forced a turnover, but could not capitalize. The offense for Drexel was being thrown off by the outstanding play of Hofstra’s goalie, junior Kelsey Gregerson. Another offensive possession was thwarted by Gregerson after she saved a shot on goal by junior midfielder Joelle Hartke.
On the ensuing drive Hofstra finally rewarded Gregerson with a 2-0 cushion on a goal from April Iannetta, her 10th of the season.
Drexel remained unable to score when they had possession, and Hofstra began to heat up. The Pride scored with 11:51 left in the first half, pushing the score to 3-0. The score came after a yellow card was issued to Norcini, leaving Drexel one woman short.
Neither team managed to score again until the two-minute mark, when Hofstra’s Iannetta scored her second goal of the game. The Pride weren’t done yet; with just 50 seconds left in the half, they scored again with a goal by Jenn Ward.
Hofstra entered halftime with a 5-0 lead, and the Dragons entered halftime struggling on offense and slowing on defense.
The second half for the Dragons didn’t play out much better than the first. Early attempts by Hartke and Emily Duffey were futile, as Hofstra’s Gregerson remained impenetrable in goal.
With just under 25 minutes left in the second half, the senior duo of Amanda Norcini and Kelly Palace gave Drexel its first goal of the game. Norcini assisted Palace, who connected on her 31st goal of the season. Just two minutes later the Dragons had the opportunity to make the game 5-2, but Gregerson managed to keep the momentum at bay.
Between the Dragons’estaunch second-half defense and Hofstra’s Gregerson, neither team was able to score until just 17:20 remained. Drexel sophomore midfielder Lizzy Carr beat the brick wall in Hofstra’s net for her fourth goal of the season, making the game 5-2.
There remained enough time to score three goals and tie the game, but the Dragons were unable to score again for the rest of the game. The rest of the second half saw Hofstra’s offense awaken, scoring five unanswered goals.
When the final whistle blew, the score read 10-2. Based solely on the box score, an uninformed passerby might think the Dragons did not play hard enough. In reality, they simply came across a goaltender on fire.
“Hofstra’s goalie had a great day,” Drexel head coach Hannah Rudloff said after the game. “She’s the best in the conference in my opinion.”
Rudloff also commented on the two graduating seniors that played their last game in a Dragons uniform: “First and foremost, [I’m] thanking the seniors for the contributions they’ve given to this program, because it is immeasurable, what both of them have done.
“Leading such a young team, they did not have an easy job this year. Overall, I told them they gave their all, which they did.”
Both Norcini and Palace played their last respective games with heart and went out as leaders of a team that came up just short, but will not be discouraged come game time next season.