ELON, N.C. – Set to open its third season of Colonial Athletic Association play, 19th-ranked Elon University women’s lacrosse will take on No. 18 James Madison and No. 14 Towson this weekend in Elon’s first two CAA games of the year. Opening draw against JMU on Friday, April 7, is set for 5 p.m. in Harrisonburg, Va., before the Phoenix will head to Towson,Md., to take on the Tigers on Sunday, April 9, at 12 p.m. noon on Lacrosse Sports Network.
THE SERIES vs. JMU
Elon and James Madison have met twice to date with the Dukes taking both meetings in 2015 and 2016. A year ago, JMU visited Rudd Field and used two goals in the final 2:27 to win 9-7. Elon took a 5-4 lead to halftime in the game, but the Dukes held the Phoenix to just two second-half goals while going on a 4-0 run spanning the end of the first half into the first eight minutes of the second half to go up 7-5. Two Shelby Scanlin goals midway through the second half tied things up at 7-7, but two late goals finished the win for JMU.
THE SERIES vs. TOWSON
Towson has won each of the three meetings to date against the Phoenix, but each of the previous two meetings have been tight contests decided by just two goals. During the regular season at Rudd Field in 2016, Towson took an 11-9 victory before winning 8-6 in Philadelphia in the first round of the CAA Tournament, Elon’s first CAA tourney game in program history.
LAST TIME OUT
On a goal with 12 seconds to play, No. 20 Duke took a 10-9 win at Rudd Field over the 16th-ranked Phoenix on March 29. Trailing 7-4 at halftime, Elon came out firing in the second half in scoring five of the first six goals to tie the game at 9-9 with 3:41 to play. Trailing by two with less than five minutes to go, Stephanie Asher scored on two free position shots just 40 seconds apart to tie the game at 9-9. After multiple turnovers in the closing 90 seconds from both teams, Duke converted with game-winning goal with 12 seconds to go.
SCOUTING THE DUKES
JMU owns a 7-5 record on the season, which is highlighted by wins over Michigan (18-6), Virginia Tech (9-6) and No. 13 Towson (9-5). Before defeating Towson last time out, the Dukes had lost four of their last five overall against No. 1 Maryland, No. 19 Virginia, Rutgers and No. 6 Penn State. JMU is led by Kristen Gaudian’s 26 goals on the year, but she’s followed closely by Hanna Haven’s 23 and Elena Romesburg’s 21. Katie Kerrigan has assisted on 24 goals and has a team-high 33 points for the Dukes. Common opponents between the two to date are North Carolina, Virginia Tech, High Point and Virginia. Elon defeated Virginia Tech, High Point and Virginia while JMU topped Virginia Tech and High Point but lost at home to the Cavaliers. Both teams fell to UNC, though the Dukes fell 16-14 back in February while Elon lost 15-5 last month.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Towson is led by Carly Tellekamp and Natalie Sulmonte’s 28 goals apiece. Samantha Brookhart leads the Tigers this year with 40 points. Towson owns a 7-4 record this season with the four losses coming against No. 6 Stony Brook, No. 7 Penn State, No. 3 Florida and CAA foe James Madison. Before taking on Elon, Towson will take on William & Mary at home on Friday, April 7.
On March 16, Stephanie Asher and Rachel Ramirez were added to the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List. The two players represent the first Elon athletes to be named to the watch list for the sport’s highest honor. Asher’s 39 goals this season leads the CAA and is 13th in the country with her 3.6 goals per game No. 11 in the nation. Ramirez leads the CAA in saves and is second in save percentage, saves per game and third in goals against average. Her 9.15 GAA is 21st in the nation and her 0.475 save percentage is good for No. 26 in the country.
Stephanie Asher became the program’s first player to reach the 100-career goal mark when she scored in the second half against No. 9 Notre Dame back on Feb. 23. She scored at least five goals in a game on four occasions with her season high coming March 26 with six goals against Davidson.
AN ACTIVE LEADER
With 121 career goals, Stephanie Asher is 23rd on the NCAA’s active goal-scoring list. She is one of just six juniors among the Top 25 active goal scorers in the country in just 44 games played. Asher is six goals away from breaking her program record of 44 goals in a single season, set in 2015 as a freshman.
AMONG THE TOP 20
Elon checked in this week at No. 19 in the IWLCA Coaches poll and is getting votes in the Cascade/Inside Lacrosse Coaches poll. Back on March 6 when Elon was No. 16 in the IL poll, it marked the first time in Elon’s four-year history the team was ranked in a national poll.
With the Feb. 11 win over No. 13 Virginia and the March 1 victory over No. 19 Virginia Tech, Elon has now defeated three nationally ranked teams over the course of the last two seasons. In 2016, the Phoenix went on the road to No. 10 Duke and won 7-6 in Durham, N.C. Elon owns an all-time record of 3-9 against ACC opponents. Overall against ranked teams, Elon is 3-11 in 14 games to date.
Two Phoenix earned preseason All-CAA honors on Jan. 20 with Stephanie Asher and Rachel Ramirez being named to the All-CAA team and Sloane Kessler and Alexis Zadjura earning honorable mentions. In the preseason poll, Elon was selected to finish third behind Towson and James Madison. The third-place selection is the highest Elon has been in a preseason poll in the program’s brief history.
After a CAA opening weekend against the preseason’s top two teams in the CAA, Elon will return home for its final three home games of the regular season, starting Friday, April 14, against Drexel. Opening draw against the Dragons is set for 6 p.m.