April 25, 2014 by Peter Sandilos
The Drexel women’s lacrosse team dropped a pair of games at James Madison University and the College of William & Mary on a Virginia road trip April 18 and 20.
The games were well fought, but the Dragons’ poor road record continued to snowball starting with a dispiriting 17-7 loss to James Madison.
In the first game, the first half against James Madison was one the Dragons would like to have back again. It only took the Bulldogs’ Jaci Gordon two and half minutes to put James Madison up on top, 1-0.
The Dragons were then unable to clear the ball, which gave the Bulldogs more chances to score. After a few chances were thwarted, James Madison’s Taylor Gress scored her 16th goal of the season to extend the score to 2-0.
Not even 10 minutes had passed when the Bulldogs put the game seemingly out of reach with a five-goal scoring burst, all five of which came within 30 seconds of each other.
With the score at 7-0, the Dragons were feeling deflated and they had only played about nine minutes and 20 seconds of the game. Drexel stopped the bleeding with a goal from sophomore midfielder Emily Duffey, who scored her 15th goal of the season to bring the score to 9-1.
The Dragons tried to chip away at the lead as senior attacker Kelly Palace scored a pair of goals in a two-minute span to cut the gap to 9-3.
But James Madison scored two more goals in the half to extend its lead to 11-3. Drexel sophomore midfielder Emily Kellett scored her fourth goal of the season toward the end of the half to make the game 11-4.
The second half was no better.
Five minutes and 30 seconds into the second half, the Dragons allowed the Bulldogs to score their 12th goal of the game.
Duffey came right back with a goal, scoring her 16th of the season, but James Madison scored two more goals to take a 14-5 lead. Duffey scored again to complete the hat trick and junior midfielder Joelle Hartke notched a goal, but that finished up the Dragons’ offense.
The Bulldogs scored three more goals to finish off the game at 17-7.
Drexel’s play against William and Mary was much better, but the end result would be the same. The Dragons took the Tribe to two overtimes but could not pull off a victory, falling 11-10.
Unlike the game against James Madison, Drexel scored efficiently early on with Kellett, Duffey and Hartke all scoring in the opening minutes of the game. William & Mary had its own burst of offense and would answer each goal to tie the game at 3-3 before the 15-minute mark of the first half.
William & Mary began finding its edge on defense, holding the Dragons scoreless while the Tribe scored two goals to go up 5-3. It took Drexel some time to recover, but Kellett scored to bring the Dragons within one.
Drexel was held scoreless for the rest of the first half, and William & Mary scored two more goals to head into halftime up 7-4.
Freshman midfielder Caroline Thiele and Kellett began the second half with a pair of quick goals to draw within one, and the teams traded markers until freshman midfielder Eva Winiarski tied the game at 8-8 with 12:52 left to play.
Drexel took the lead off yet another goal by Kellett, but William & Mary came roaring back to tie the game yet again. With the game going back and forth all afternoon, it wasn’t surprising to see the Dragons’ freshman midfielder, Lacey Aghazarian, put Drexel ahead 10-9 with 3:22 to play.
But Drexel could not hang on and the Tribe scored a game-tying goal with just 46 seconds remaining in the game, forcing overtime.
Both the Dragons and the Tribe were locked defensively, and neither team was able to score in the first overtime.
The second overtime was filled with similar defense. Drexel had an opportunity to score: however, the ball was turned over with 1:30 remaining, and the Tribe maintained pressure until finally breaking through, scoring with just 11 seconds left in the second overtime.
Drexel lost this heartbreaking game, but fortunately for the Dragons, they will come back to Philadelphia, where they have played well all season and will play in their biggest game this season. Drexel will host Hofstra University April 26 in a win-or-go-home-game. If the Dragons prove victorious, they will be the fourth seed in the conference and have a chance to make some noise in the tournament.
“We have to focus on this one game, make sure we get the X’s and O’s down of Hofstra and fix some things that didn’t go so well this weekend,”head coach Hannah Rudloff said.
These two losses may have been a blessing in disguise for the Dragons because weaknesses are most glaring in losses, making them easier to spot and fix.
Rudloff expects her team to figure it out in the final week of the regular season.
“The message to the girls is just you’ve got one week”she said. “Do everything in your power to personally take ownership to make sure we come away with the win.”