DURHAM, N.C. – With the game tied with six seconds remaining, Sloane Kessler found Shelby Scanlin who got the ball in the left side of the net to score the game winner as the Elon women’s lacrosse team knocked off No. 10 Duke, 7-6, today, Feb. 25, at Koskinen Stadium. The victory marks the first over a ranked opponent for the Phoenix since the program began competing three years ago.
“A win like this is huge for our program,” said Elon head coach Josh Hexter. “I think our team finally played without worrying who they were up against. They just played hard and for each other and they found joy in the competition.”
The Phoenix (4-0) took 18 shots in the game, 14 of which were on goal, claimed 10 ground balls, won seven draws and finished 8-of-11 in clear attempts.
Scanlin, Maeve Cowley and Stephanie Asher all netted two goals for the maroon and gold on the day, while Kelsey Dupere finished with one. Kessler tallied two assists followed by one for Cowley to give Cowley a game-high three points.
Goalie Rachel Ramirez tallied seven saves in the game after facing 20 shots to record her fourth win of the season between the pipes. Both Alexis Zadjura and Bridget Lamb picked up a game-high two ground balls.
The Blue Devils (2-3) took 20 shots in the game, recorded 15 ground balls and finished 6-of-7 in clear attempts. Kelci Smesko led Duke with two scores with four other players combining for the team’s six goals. Kelsey Duryea took the loss after tallying seven saves in the game and a game-high three ground balls.
After Duke tallied two scores in the first three minutes, Asher notched her ninth goal of the season before Cowley evened the game, 2-2, at the 21:40 mark. Playing a man down, Ramirez stopped the ball for three great saves before the Blue Devils’ Maddy Acton scored with 16:20 on the clock, making it a 3-2 game.
Trailing 5-2, Asher scored her second goal of the game with 8:19 remaining to bring the maroon and gold back within two, 5-3. With time expiring, Kessler was able to find Dupere who got the ball in on the left side with one second left to make it a one-score game at the break, 5-4.
The second half was scoreless until Cowley got the ball to Scanlin who shot it just over the Duke goalie to find the back of the net and even the game, five-all, with 15:16 on the clock.
The Blue Devils scored for the first time in the second frame with 11:45 remaining before Cowley netted her second goal of the day to tie the game, 6-6, with just over 10 minutes to play.
The Phoenix took a strong defensive stand at the other end of the field, keeping Duke to just one shot for almost a four-minute span before a foul on Smesko with 3:43 to play gave Elon the ball. At the 18-second mark, Asher got a shot off that hit the post and was picked up by DU’s Isabelle Montagne before she turned it over and Scanlin grabbed the ground ball.
Scanlin took a shot at with 11 seconds on the clock that went wide and out of bounds but possession remained with the Phoenix, allowing Kessler to hold the ball behind the net and pass it to Scanlin for the final score.
The win also marked the first over Duke and an Atlantic Coast Conference team for the Phoenix…Duke leads the all-time series, 2-1…Elon is 1-5 against ACC teams…Hexter spent eight seasons as an assistant and associate head coach for the Blue Devils prior to accepting the Elon head coaching position in 2012 to start the program.
Elon closes out a three-game road swing on Sunday, Feb. 28, when it travels to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Vanderbilt. The opening draw is set for 1 p.m. (EST).