Jacksonville Seizes First Place in NLC
from press release
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Chelsea Watts scored a game-high four goals and the JU women’s lacrosse team reeled off 12 second-half goals to lift the Dolphins to an 18-10 National Lacrosse Conference victory over Longwood on Sunday afternoon at D.B. Milne field.
JU improved to 9-4 and 4-0 in NLC play, taking over sole
possession of first place in the league. Longwood fell to 8-4 and
4-1. The Dolphins ended its home schedule on a high note, finishing
7-2 in Jacksonville this season.
For the second time in three days, the Dolphins bested a team that entered undefeated in NLC play. JU knocked off Liberty on Friday and out-shot the Lancers, 43-20, to put themselves in position to lock up the No. 1 seed entering the NLC Tournament later this month.
Ellyn Spangenberg, Morgan Derner and Amanda Hurley added hat tricks to complement Watts’ production and Kayleigh Hynes tallied two goals and two assists to extend JU’s winning streak to five.
“I saw us staying focused on our game plan and execute our fundamentals at the highest level,” JU head coach Mindy McCord said. “We tried to play a good out of conference schedule to prepare us and each conference game gives us confidence that what we are doing is working.”
JU erased a 2-0 deficit through the opening three minutes, taking a 6-4 lead into halftime off back-to-back unassisted goals from Nicole Albino and Kayleigh Hynes. Hynes’ marker with seven seconds left boosted the Dolphins entering the break and marked the first time JU led by more than a single goal.
The Dolphins would not trail the rest of the way. Cara O’Brien and Sam Stifler scored 26 seconds apart to put the Lancers within 8-7 with 24:49 remaining. But JU erupted, scoring the next nine goals in an 8:01 span to go up 17-7 and prompt a running clock.
Watts registered three of her goals in that stretch, including a score off a free-position attempt and a close-range shot off Hurley’s feed just 23 seconds later. Hurley and Erdely then scored the last two goals to cap the run, handing the Dolphins a 10-goal edge with 12:28 left.
“We stayed poised and put a lot of shots on the cage and we know they’ll go in eventually,” McCord said. “We just keep playing our system and try to keep pressing forward.”
Both schools boasted powerful offensives led by a 30-goal scorer. Derner continued her season-long scoring touch, scoring three times and adding two assists for a five-point game. As a freshman, Derner already became the second player in school history to crack the 30-goal mark and now has 35 goals and 45 points through her first 13 collegiate games.
Longwood’s Cara O’Brien entered with 33 goals through 11 games but tallied just one through the opening 59 minutes before scoring again with 25 seconds left in the blowout.
JU’s defense held O’Brien to just two shots and Longwood to just a single unsuccessful free-position shot. The Dolphins built a 24-12 edge in turnovers and generated 10 FPS attempts, resulting in two goals.
Former Loyola Marymount star basketball player Bo Kimble served as an honorary JU captain. Kimble addressed the team on Saturday in support his nonprofit organization, 44 for Life, which seeks to make automatic external defibrillators widely available and increase awareness and education about heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest.
McCord’s team will end the regular season with three straight road games. JU will next be in action on Friday when it heads to the Motor City to face Detroit at 2 p.m. Eastern time.