DURHAM, N.C. – There were several signs of future success for the new Elon women’s lacrosse team in its first ever game today, Feb. 7, at No. 6 Duke as the Phoenix saw scores from four different players. In the end, Elon fell to the Blue Devils by a final of 25-4.
“We had a blast playing today,” said Elon head coach Josh Hexter. “What a better way to start the season than by playing a first-class team like Duke. It was great competition. I’m so proud of our girls. They work hard every practice and it’s a great thing for them to come out and play a team like this and see what it’s all about. The biggest thing from today is taking this experience and learning to go out into the next game and play loose and more confidently.”
Elon (0-1) won 11 draws in the game with the help of three from Sydney Hesselbein and two from both Elle Hvozdovic and Kelli Stack. The Phoenix finished 7-of-11 in clear attempts and grabbed 11 ground balls, while limiting Duke (1-0) to just four ground balls in the second half. Goalie Rachel Ramirez finished with a game-high with five saves.
The Blue Devils were strong on the offensive end with six goals from Kerrin Maurer and three from Kelci Smesko as the team took 40 shots in the game.
Duke quickly scored in the first minute of play but Elon immediately responded as Sloane Kessler netted the first program goal for the Phoenix with 27:43 remaining in the period to even the score, 1-1.
The Blue Devils went on a scoring run with 11 goals in a 22-minute span to take a 12-1 lead. With 2:54 left in the first period, Anna Vitton scored the second goal for the maroon and gold to make it 13-2 at the break.
Duke maintained possession through the most of the second period but Elon never quit fighting, scoring two goals in the final 30 seconds of the game. Bailey DeMuth found the net on a free-position shot with 24 second left followed by another free-position goal by Paige Lorton with just six ticks remaining.
For the game, the Blue Devils outshot the Phoenix, 40-13, and took a 20-11 advantage in draw controls. Duke’s goalie Kelsey Duryea got the win after playing 46 minutes in goal and posting four saves.
Elon will host its first home game next Friday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. in Rhodes Stadium against Longwood.