Jacksonville, Fla.- Freshman Nikki Erdely tallied her first career hat trick and three Dolphins total scored in double-figures to lift the JU women’s lacrosse team to a 10-7 win over Denver on Friday afternoon at D.B. Milne Field.Â
“We wanted to keep running hard and beating them to the ball and I thought we made a great effort to keep our energy up out there,” head coach Mindy McCord said.Â Â
Erdely, who scored in her collegiate debut and added two-goals in the second game, continued her hot shooting. The attacker out of Cumming, Ga. scored two of her goals in the second half and now has six through her first three games.
Fellow freshmen Morgan Derner and Chelsea Watts each registered two goals in helping to JU improve to 2-1. Denver’s Kara Secora scored two goals but the Pioneers fell to 0-1.Â Â
Despite playing its third game in six days, the Dolphins looked strong from the opening draw and never trailed. Erdely, Watts, Derner and Kayleigh Hynes each scored in the opening half to give JU a 4-3 halftime edge.
Denver mounted an early second-half comeback, showing the scoring ability that led the team to a 6-0 regular season conference record in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation last season. The Pioneers, who entered the contest ranked No. 20 in the Inside Lacrosse poll, tied the contest at 5 on Lauren Ciccomascolo’s unassisted goal at 24:36.
But JU stormed back with three straight goals to take the lead for good. Erdely and Watts scored just 24 seconds apart and Derner fired in a shot to beat goalkeeper Ashley Harman for a 8-5 edge with 11 minutes remaining.
“We have a hard-working team that has passion for the game,” McCord said. “They are going to learn from each opponent and prepare for the next. We like playing great teams so we know what we need to do to improve.”
Watts finished with her second straight two-goal game.Â The first-year middie added an assist for a three-point game. The effort came just two days after Watts scored her first two career goals against No. 17 Florida, giving the West Long Branch, N.J. native five points in a three-day span.
Sophomore goalkeeper Karli Tobin made four of her five saves in the second half. Three of her total saves came against Tulley Stapp, who was one of the Pioneers four preseason all-conference selections.
“Her consistency made a huge difference,” McCord said. “When your goalies are having huge games, it keeps you in games. She did that today for us.”
Junior Sarah Michel contributed a goal and two assists, making her one of three Dolphins with three-point games. Ellyn Spangenberg and Hynes rounded out JU’s scoring.Â
The Dolphins will now face its first road test of the year when it plays Fresno State and Oregon on back-to-back days in Eugene starting on Feb. 26.