Dolphins program looks to build upon first NCAA appearance
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A memorable fourth season for the Jacksonville women’s lacrosse program came to an unfortunate end on Friday as the Dolphins dropped a 14-7 decision at No. 13 Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I think this was a great experience to have an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament and it’s certainly a completely different experience for our team,” said Head Coach Mindy McCord. “I think it’s a great program builder for us to be able to now have this experience.”
Denver (18-2) scored three times in the opening five minutes before the Dolphins were able to get on the board. A free position goal by Taylor McCord (Jacksonville, Fla.) at the 21 minute mark seemed to energize the offense, but the Pioneers continued to control the draw circle.
With the offensive possession limited, Jacksonville fell behind 7-1 before Nikki Erdely (Cumming, Ga.) scoring in the closing seconds of the first half.
“You can’t lose 21 draws and not get ground balls and expect to win a game,” said McCord. “We struggled with draw controls and ground balls today. Kudos to Denver, they did a really great job with possession skills and we took four shots in the first half. For us to play our game we have to take more shots than that. Those were critical possessions that if we could have converted 50 percent on I think would have given us more opportunities on the offensive end.”
The Dolphins started to rally at the start of the second half with back-to-back goals from Ali Hoffman and McCord. The pair of scores closed the gap to 8-4 with 21 minutes remaining. The Pioneers would mange to keep Jacksonville at a comfortable distance however as they controlled possession and added five more unanswered goals over the next 10 minutes.
Seniors Amanda Hurley (Columbus, Ga.) and Rachel Krell (Apooka, Fla.) sparked a late three goal spurt in the final six minutes, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Dolphins season came to a close.
As the final buzzer sounded it brought about an end of a historic run for the first four-year senior class in program history.
“None of these kids were top 100 recruits when they came here and four years later they’re contending with some great teams in the NCAA Tournament,” McCord said of her seniors who compiled a 50-26 overall record along with three conference championships
“I think that these seniors are incredibly hard workers and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them believing in a vision that this is where we could be. I can’t thank them enough for their leadership, hard work and believing in our program”
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