JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Showing its resiliency in all aspects of the game, the Jacksonville University women’s lacrosse team never took its foot off the gas Friday evening as the Dolphins defeated Fresno State, 21-9, at D.B. Milne Field.
“We need to start games better; it was an issue against Oregon and USC, and again tonight. Composure and focus are issues,” said head coach Mindy McCord. “Right now, we are a few plays away from being 4-0. With so much to work on, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing; team chemistry is perhaps most important. … We will be working hard after a break for the team to prepare for the second quarter of the season.”
After a pair of tightly-contested matchups on the West Coast last weekend, the Dolphins (2-2) came away with the victory against another West Coast foe in the Bulldogs (3-2). A tale of two halves, Jacksonville and Fresno State were evenly matched in the opening 30 minutes, as the teams were equal on shots (23-23) and free-position goals (2-2), while the Dolphins held a slight advantage in ground balls (9-8) and one less turnover (8-7). However, by the end of the game the Dolphins topped the Bulldogs in shots (51-32), ground balls (18-12), and draw controls (21-10), and cleaned up their fouls (14-9) and turnovers (7-3) from the first half.
Freshman goalie Dayna Martinetto continued to be a brick wall between the pipes, as the Manorville, N.Y. native totaled eight saves in the first half alone en route to a 10-save performance. She also finished the day with a game-high five ground balls.
Added McCord, “[Dayna Martinetto] was great at coming up with balls when the defense forced the ball down. She had a good game in goal and her game outside the crease was just as good. We could have helped her on the clear more; our defense was strong in the second and fourth quarters when we need to be at our best.”
Senior captain Lillie Miller opened scoring for the Dolphins at 23:17 after she buried a pass from sophomore Alyssa Arnold, though Jacksonville faced a 4-1 deficit early on in the half. Quick to change their predicament, the Dolphins sparked a four-goal rally behind goals from Arnold (19:05), Miller (18:31), sophomore Jenny Kinsey (17:02), and sophomore Lauren Phillips (14:32) to take a 5-4 lead.
Though Fresno State was able to notch back-to-back goals, the Dolphins closed out the half with three straight of their own – including a slick, ankle-breaking dodge from junior Alexis Deaken with 5:11 on the clock – to build momentum and take an 8-6 lead at the intermission.
Kinsey posted her second goal of the game, an unassisted tally just 1:29 into the second half, to expand the Dolphins lead to three. A final push from the visitors brought it within one, 9-8, with 22:06 to go, but Jacksonville reclaimed its identity as a high-powered offensive threat with four goals from four players in one minute and 12 seconds. A pair of free-position goals from redshirt-junior Erin McGuire (21:32) and graduate student Hayley Ciklin (20:07), coupled with unassisted marks from freshman Molly Brock (20:51) and junior captain Parker Day (19:20), gave the Dolphins a comfy 13-8 lead.
The Bulldogs managed just one final point – an eight-meter goal from Kayla Galet with 11:47 showing – and it was all Jacksonville until the final horn. Seven goals later, the Dolphins enjoyed victory once again with a 21-9 win.
Ten different players found the back of the net, as Arnold (2 goals, 2 assists), Miller (4g), and Brock (2g, 2a) all posted a team-high four points.
“Lillie Miller was just so steady on both ends today; her leadership was key. It was a very efficient game for her; her consistently has been great all year,” added McCord.
The Dolphins return to action on Thursday, March 14 when they welcome Bryant to D.B. Milne Field; opening draw is set for 4 p.m.