April 6, 2014

Drexel Nets Key CAA Win Over Towson

from Press Release

PHILADELPHIA - The Drexel women's lacrosse team put together one of its strongest outings of the season just when it needed it most. The Dragons started strong and got key contributions from their seniors in the final moments as they knocked off Towson, 9-8. The win was the first Colonial Athletic Association victory of the season for Drexel, and just the third regular season CAA loss for the Tigers over the past four seasons. Drexel has now accounted for two of those three defeats.

Kelly Palace scored three goals and added an assist, her best outing since a five-point effort in the season opener against George Washington. She converted feeds from fellow senior and captain Amanda Norcini three times, including the game-winning goal with 28 seconds remaining. Norcini matched her personal best with four points, all assists.Alissa Watts added three goals. The victory snapped a four-game losing skid for the Dragons.

Drexel (5-7, 1-1) trailed for just 2:22 on the afternoon, recovering late after the Tigers scored four straight goals while holding Drexel scoreless for nearly 24 minutes across halftime. Palace and Norcini hooked up for the game-tying goal with 6:02 remaining, then forced two Towson turnovers to ensure the Dragons the opportunity to take regulation's last shot. The duo then connected for the winner with just under 30 seconds to play. Palace attacked from the right side, beating Towson goalie Kelsea Donnelly low for the game-winner.

The game got off to a good start for Drexel, a key for the Dragons after allowing early runs to opponents in several of their recent games. Emily Duffey put Drexel on the board less than four minutes into the action, finishing a free position shot. Drexel was 2-for-4 on eight-meter chances on the day, and scored a third directly off a free position setup when Norcini fed Alissa Watts for a go-ahead goal with 18:46 remaining.

After CAA leading goal scorer Andi Raymond evened things up, it was the Dragons that went on an early run. Drexel scored four in a row from the 23:38 mark of the first half through the 16:17 mark, building a 5-1 lead. The Dragons' offense during that stretch was well-balanced, with four different goal scorers and two different assisters. Milan Whitebeat Donnelly off a feed from Palace to start the run, followed by an unassisted Watts score, a free position goal by Joelle Hartke and the first of three connections between Norcini and Palace.

Towson ended its skid with a Raymond free position goal with 15:43 to play, but the Dragons had an answer. This time, Watts and Hartke hooked up for an impressive goal, with Hartke feeding Watts from behind the net. Watts leapt to grab the pass and finished in one motion, her second score of the day.

The Tigers netted the first half's final goal with 1:24 to play, a free position goal that began their 4-0 run. After they had evened things up with the first three goals of the second half, Drexel head coach Hannah Rudloff called a timeout that settled the Dragons. They quickly earned a free position, with Palace taking the ball and immediately finding Watts to the right of Donnelly. Watts finished her first hat trick of the season to put the Dragons back on top, 7-6.

Towson responded with the game's next two goals, but Drexel buckled down. With 6:02 to play, Norcini found Palace for the tying score. Towson won the ensuing draw control, but the Dragons forced a quick turnover to take possession back. They attempted to hold for the last shot, but Towson forced a turnover. As Katie Leech streaked upfield with just over a minute to play for the Tigers, Duffey disrupted her and picked up the loose ball, setting up the final chance. After Palace's go-ahead goal, Drexel got possession on a foul before the draw control, and moved the ball around in their own offensive end until time expired.

Drexel evened its CAA record at 1-1 with the victory. The Dragons will now play their final non-conference game of the season, at home next Saturday against Monmouth at 7:00 p.m., before resuming league play. The Monmouth game will be part of a doubleheader with men's lacrosse, which hosts UMass at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

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