ELON, N.C. – After a two-game road trip to open CAA action, Elon University women’s lacrosse will come home for its last three home games of the regular season starting Friday night, April 14, at Rudd Field against Drexel. Opening draw on Phoenix All-Access is set for 6 p.m. Elon will then welcome Delaware on Sunday, April 16, at 1 p.m. to close the weekend.
LAST TIME OUT
Elon dropped its third game in a row on Sunday, April 9, at Towson by the score of 19-7. The 19 goals marks the most the Phoenix has allowed since James Madison scored 22 back on April 10, 2015. Melissa Birdsell made her first-career start against the Tigers and took advantage of the opportunity, tying Kelsey Dupere for a team-high two goals on the afternoon. Towson finished better than 80 percent of its shots on goal in the game, scoring 19 times on 23 shots at the target.
THE SERIES vs. DREXEL
Elon and Drexel have met once each of the last two seasons with the Phoenix and Dragons splitting the two meetings. Each team has won at its opponent’s home field with Elon topping the Dragons 8-4 in Philadelphia last season. Drexel took down Elon 10-7 in 2015 inside Rhodes Stadium. Maeve Cowley led Elon with four goals last season in the win at Drexel. She combined with Stephanie Asher’s three goals to score seven of the team’s eight goals on the day.
SCOUTING THE DRAGONS
Drexel owns a 6-5 record this season and earned a victory in its first and only CAA game of the season, a 12-11 win over Hofstra at home. Nadia Pelham-Lacey leads Drexel with 26 goals on the season. She also has 16 assists, which is second on the team behind Caroline Thiele’s 17 helpers. Pelham-Lacey stands 14th in program history for most points in a career with 110. Elon and Drexel have had two common opponents to date – Duke and High Point. Elon defeated High Point back in February while Drexel lost 11-10 on March 26. Both teams dropped close games to Duke.
THE SERIES vs. DELAWARE
The Phoenix and Blue Hens have split the two meetings to date with each team winning on its home field. A season ago, Elon took down Delaware, 5-4, in overtime but fell 8-6 back in 2015 up in Newark, Del. Elon’s five goals in the win over the Blue Hens last season is tied for the fewest goals scored in a win in program history.
SCOUTING THE BLUE HENS
Like Drexel, Delaware is 1-0 in the CAA this season and 6-5 overall on the year. The Blue Hens won their CAA opener last weekend, a 17-9 victory over Hofstra at Delaware Stadium on Sunday, April 9. The two teams have one common nonconference opponent on the year in Virginia Tech. The Phoenix took down the Hokies 13-12 in overtime to open March while Delaware dropped a 15-7 game to the Hokies back on March 11 in Newark. Becky Gohsler owns a team-high 21 goals in just eight games on the year but Jamie Schwartz tops the Blue Hens with 29 points on 16 goals and 13 assists. The Blue Hens will battle William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., on Friday night before trekking to Elon.
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 41 goals this season leads the CAA and is 24th in the country with her 3.2 goals per game also 24th in the nation entering the weekend. Ramirez leads the CAA in saves and is second in saves per game and ground balls. She has made 100 stops this year, good for 45th in the country, and has 39 ground balls on the season.
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. The junior is four goals away from breaking her own single-season program record of 44 goals. She is the only player to have scored 40 or more goals in a season in program history, which she’s now done twice in three years.
AN ACTIVE LEADER
With 123 career goals, Stephanie Asher is 24th on the NCAA’s active goal-scoring list and her 2.67 goals per contest is 14th-best in the country. She is one of just six juniors among the Top 25 active goal scorers in the country in just 46 games played. Asher is also the CAA’s active goal scoring leader.
ON THE NATIONAL SCENE
Following the two losses last week, Elon is receiving votes in both national polls this week. The Phoenix is the second team in the IWLCA Coaches poll behind Louisville to receive votes while sitting third behind Louisville and Temple on the receiving votes list in the Cascade/Inside Lacrosse Media 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 3-13 in 16 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.
The Phoenix will host Senior Day on Sunday, April 23, in a 1 p.m. game against Hofstra. Elon will honor its senior members of the program, most of whom were a part of the program four years ago when Elon played its first lacrosse game as a varsity sport.