ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s lacrosse team used a blistering start to defeat Campbell 15-5 on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Rudd Field to open the 2017 season.
Less than five minutes into the game, Elon had a five-goal lead and held Campbell down on offense all afternoon on the way to the win. Elon (1-0) has now won three season openers in a row and is 3-1 all-time in campaign openers.
“I liked that we played for each other,” said Elon head coach Josh Hexter. “We had great energy, we took some risk and we played really hard against a good Campbell team. There are some things we have to clean up, but I’m thrilled with our energy and we had fun.”
Stephanie Asher led Elon with five goals on 13 shots. She also collected a team-best four draw controls. Sloane Kessler was the only other Phoenix to score more than once, notching three goals on the afternoon. Seven more Elon players each scored one goal, including Shannon Horan’s second-career goal in maroon and gold. Horan also added three of Elon’s four assists on the afternoon.
Campbell was led by Sarah Paul, who scored each of Campbell’s first two goals before being held off the scoreboard the rest of the afternoon. Sam Carey corralled half of the Camels’ draw controls on the day with four.
With the win, Hexter now has 99 career victories with 27 of them coming as the Phoenix head coach. In his career, Hexter holds a 99-66 record in 11 seasons of coaching between Elon and Bridgewater State.
Elon’s fast start saw the Phoenix go up 5-0 in the first 4:27 of the game. Horan scored the first goal of the season 22 seconds into the game and Asher followed with two of her five goals to put Elon up 3-0 just 132 seconds in.
Campbell settled in after a timeout and allowed just four more second-half goals over the final 26-plus minutes, but Elon’s defense kept the Camels off the scoreboard for the first 20:10 of the game before Paul scored Campbell’s first goal of the afternoon.
Leading 9-4 at halftime, Elon kept the pedal to the metal in the second half in scoring the first five goals of the half to go from a five-goal lead to a 10-goal lead at 14-4 with 5:57 to play. Campbell scored its only goal of the second half with 2:51 to go after Tina Ricci scored, but Asher answered 31 seconds later to keep it a 10-goal game.
A driver in Elon’s excellent second half was the draw control margin. After splitting the 14 draws in the first half, Elon won seven of eight draws in the second half to finish with a 14-8 advantage.
In goal, Rachel Ramirez made 10 saves with two ground balls and two caused turnovers while her counterpart, Merredith Bechler, made 13 saves on 35 Elon shots.
After one week of practice, Elon will return to action next Saturday, Feb. 11, on the road for its only away game during the month of February at ACC foe Virginia. Opening draw is set for 1 p.m. in Charlottesville. The matchup will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.