JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With a career-high six points, including five goals, from graduate student Hayley Ciklin, the Jacksonville University women’s lacrosse team tamed the 2018 Northeast Conference Champion Bryant, 16-7, Thursday afternoon at D.B. Milne Field.
Stingy defense, coupled with a pair of three-goal runs in the first half, highlighted the opening half for the Dolphins (3-2).
“Bryant has been playing some good lacrosse since their first two games; they scored 31 goals during that span. Today, kudos to our starting defense and goalie who held them to just three goals in almost 50 minutes, and scoreless for 27 minutes. Starting three freshman and two sophomores out there with confidence is a real plus for our program,” stated head coach Mindy McCord.
“Credit their goalkeeper on some excellent saves; she played well today. Their defense was really tough and slowed us down. Offensively, it would be nice to finish a little better, but we are generating the shots. There were five to six shots that we need to make to beat a top program, so we have to grow in that area. First half turnovers were sloppy, but we did a much better job in the second half. The System worked well today – we had some great team defense and ground ball action.”
With goals just 11 seconds apart from sophomore Lauren Phillips (12:56) and Ciklin (12:45) in the opening half, the Dolphins quickly jumped on a 4-1 advantage. Sophomore Alyssa Arnold buried a shot from the eight-meter line two minutes later to cap the Dolphins first three-goal run at 10:45.
Though Bryant (2-3) was able to find an answer from Emily Diaz at 10:03, the Dolphins got right back to work with its second 3-0 run on goals from Arnold (8:56) and back-to-back tallies from junior Alexis Deaken (7:19 and 4:04). The Bulldogs managed just one more score in the half – at 1:26 – before Ciklin notched her second of the day with 16 seconds on the clock to give the Dolphins a cushy 9-3 lead at halftime.
Jacksonville extended its lead coming out of the locker room with a 6-0 run, led by four points (3 goals, 1 assist) from Ciklin. Phillips added a pair of goals and an assist, while junior McKenna Rushford tacked on a goal and an assist during that run.
Up 15-3 with 13:58 remaining, Jacksonville saw a spark of life from the visiting Bulldogs, as Bryant launched a four-goal offensive to pressure the hosts. Mirroring the Dolphins with back-to-back goals 12 seconds apart from Caitlin Bolen (5:53) and Alexa Weber (5:41), Bryant was unable to find an answer the rest of the way as Jacksonville stepped up its defense and held the Bulldogs to just nine shots in the second half.
With 29 seconds remaining, sophomore Jenny Kinsey put away a free-position shot to round out scoring for the Dolphins and give JU its second-straight win, 16-7. Kinsey finished the day with two points (1g, 1a) and three ground balls.
Phillips (3g, 1a) and Arnold (2g, 2a) finished the day with four points each, while Phillips picked up a team-high six draw controls. Defensively, freshman Maddie Sturgell caused three of Bryant’s turnovers, while senior Lillie Miller picked up four ground balls and caused two turnovers.
Added McCord, “We held their all-time leading scorer to just one shot and no goals, with three turnovers. We really did well on an outstanding player.”
The duo’s counterpart, Giana Kapoosuzian finished the day with 17 saves, including nine in the second half to keep Bryant in the game. Lauren Britton led the Bulldogs with two points (1g, 1a) and added a game-high nine draws.
The Dolphins welcome Marist to D.B. Milne Field this Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m.