ELON, N.C. – In the final game at Rudd Field for Elon University’s women’s lacrosse senior class, the Phoenix raced out to a double-digit lead in the first half and never looked back on the way to a 15-7 victory over Hofstra on Sunday, April 23.
The win improved Elon to 11-5 overall and 3-2 in CAA action. The 11 victories sets a new program record for most in a single season, surpassing last year’s 10-win campaign. Hofstra’s two-game winning streak was snapped with the loss, falling to 8-7 overall and 2-4 in CAA action. The defeat eliminated the Pride from CAA Tournament contention.
Elon had a bevy of multiple-goal scorers on the afternoon, but Nicole Sinacori stole the day with her second four-goal game of the season, falling just one short of her career-high five back on Feb. 22, 2015, against Stetson. She also added an assist and a ground ball in the win. Both Sloane Kessler and Melissa Birdsell scored three times apiece with Birdsell completing her hat trick in the first 24 minutes of the game. Stephanie Asher and Shelby Scanlin each tallied twice with Asher adding two assists, tying Shannon Horan’s two helpers for the team high on the afternoon. Horan also added a goal and two draw controls. Rachel Ramirez picked up eight ground balls in the cage while making seven saves with two caused turnovers. The eight ground balls is the second-most in program history, falling one short of her nine picked up against No. 20 Duke back on March 29. Alexis Zadjura had a big day when it came to restarts, taking four draw controls to go with a ground ball and a caused turnover.
Three of the seven Pride goals on the day came from the crosse of Becky Conto. No other Pride player scored more than once with Elon holding Hofstra’s leading goal scorer Alyssa Parrella scoreless. She did register two assists, but was held scoreless after netting 47 goals in the previous 14 games. Conto also led all players with five draw controls while Alexa Mattera and Maddie Fields picked up four ground balls apiece to lead the Pride.
Less than three minutes into the game, Elon went on a quick 3-0 run by scoring all three in a matter of 26 seconds. The first came from Asher, and she was followed 17 seconds later by Sinacori, who scored her first and second goals of the game just eight seconds apart. In all, Elon jumped out to a 6-0 lead less than 10 minutes in before Hofstra could get on the board, scoring twice to cut the lead to four just eight seconds apart.
After the Pride cut the Elon lead to 6-2, Elon again went on a long run, this time a 7-0 stretch to take a commanding 13-2 lead with 3:29 to go in the first half. Though Hofstra scored with 1:07 left in the half, Elon took a big 13-3 lead to the break, the largest halftime lead of the season for the Phoenix.
Out of the break with running clock rules in play, Elon scored twice midway through the frame to add on and make it 15-3 before Conto scored all three of her goals in the final 5:53, cutting the final margin to eight.
– With one assist in the game, Sloane Kessler has tied her program record for most in a single season. She owns each of the top four marks in team history and now has 85 in her career.
– Before the 10-goal margin at half Sunday, Elon’s largest halftime advantage was seven on three occasions, the most recent coming last Friday, April 14, against Drexel.
– With two goals in the game, Stephanie Asher has now tallied 50 goals this season. It is already a new program record and leads the CAA. She has notched 132 in her career to date.
CAA Tournament Bound
With Sunday’s win, Elon has guaranteed its spot in the 2017 CAA Tournament for the second year in a row. Standing at 3-2 in conference play, Elon will earn the No. 3 seed with a win next Saturday, April 29, at William & Mary. Should Elon fall to the Tribe, Elon would be the No. 3 seed if Drexel defeats Delaware, creating a three-way tie with the Dragons and Blue Hens that Elon holds the tiebreaker in thanks to wins over both programs. Should Elon lose and Delaware defeats Drexel, Elon would be the No. 4 seed behind Delaware. James Madison has already locked up the No. 1 seed and Towson is the No. 2 seed after winning Sunday against Drexel. The CAA Tournament will be held at Johnny Unitas Stadium with the semifinals on Friday, May 5, and the finals on Sunday, May 7.
The Phoenix will close the regular season on Saturday, April 29, with a 1 p.m. matchup against William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. The Tribe owns a 3-13 record this season with an 0-5 mark in CAA play. Elon is 1-1 against William & Mary, falling 11-9 last year in Williamsburg after beating it 8-7 in 2015.