Drexel junior attacker hangs around the opponents net during the Dragons 18-10 defeat of the St. Joseph’s University Hawks at Vidas Field Feb. 22. Maiden scored two goals and had one assist on the day. She now has a team-high 40 points on the year.
With four games remaining in the season, all within the Colonial Athletic Association, head coach Anna Marie Vesco has the Drexel women’s lacrosse team on point and focused with a chance to qualify for its second consecutive CAA Tournament after qualifying for the first time ever last year.
“We have four conference games left in the season and will need three [wins] out of four to seal a bid to the tournament,” Vesco said.
Starting off that four-game stretch to the tournament, the team will face a perplexing University of Delaware squad that has only been successful within the conference (2-1). Out of conference, the Blue Hens are dreadful, winning just two of 10 games.
“Delaware is a young team, but they have a lot of talent,” Vesco said. “They seem to be coming into stride recently. They are 2-1 in the conference, and this game is a must-win for us.”
That game will be in Newark, Del. April 13 at 5 p.m., and the Dragons (8-4, 1-2 CAA) will be looking to bounce back from a tough 8-15 loss at the hands of James Madison University (7-5, 3-0 CAA) April 8 in Harrisonburg, Va.
Leading up to the loss to the Dukes, the Dragons first had another Virginia matchup when they visited George Mason University (2-10, 0-3 CAA) April 4 in Fairfax.
The Dragons dismantled the Patriots, running them up and down the field and outplaying them in virtually every statistical category. In addition, Drexel was able to get all of its players some time on the field, allowing for the entire team to contribute to the 16-7 victory.
Drexel had six players score at least two goals each, three of whom — junior attacker Alyse Maiden, redshirt freshman Alissa Watts and Drexel co-Athlete of the Week junior midfielder Kelli Joran — scored three times.
After the sheer domination of one of the lesser teams in the conference, Vesco and the Dragons seemed to be riding a high as they headed back to Virginia for their game against the first-place Dukes.
Unfortunately for them, the Dukes were not to be denied their third conference win. Senior attacker Charlotte Wood, who notched two goals against GMU and one against the Dukes — giving her 27 goals on the season and earning her a place atop the stat sheet tied with fellow attacker Maiden — spoke about what went wrong in their most recent matchup.
“JMU is a very good team, and they capitalized off our mistakes in the second half,” Wood said. “In the first half, we were able to win most draw controls, which allowed us to have possession on attack more, whereas in the second half JMU dominated draw controls, and we rarely had possession of the ball.”
Other than highlighting the play of the JMU midfield and attack, Vesco was on the same page as Wood.
“James Madison had an explosive midfield and attack,” she said. “We were unable to get possession in the second half off the draw and played on our defensive end for 90 percent of the second half.”
After the game against the Blue Hens, the Dragons will return home to face JMU’s counterpart in the tie for first place in the CAA in Towson University (9-3, 3-0 CAA). The Tigers will be an extremely tough test, with their three losses coming at the hands of the current No. 4 University of Maryland, No. 2 Syracuse University and No. 19 Johns Hopkins University, respectively.
As Vesco said, the Dragons will have a good chance at making the CAA Tournament if they win three of their four remaining games, but “a good chance” doesn’t seem good enough for her star player, who wants a guaranteed invite.
“After last year, it has made our team want the CAA Tournament even more after feeling what is like to be there,” Wood said. “Our team needs to really pull together to win the next four games to ensure we will make it back to the CAA Tournament.”