Jacksonville Opens A-Sun Play With 22-2 Win Over Kennesaw State
Nikki Erdley had three goals and an assist
Nikki Erdley had three goals and an assist
Dolphins triumphant in first ever match-up of A-Sun programs

KENNESAW, Ga. – Jacksonville earned a 22-2 victory at Kennesaw State on Saturday in a historic matchup between two original Atlantic Sun women’s lacrosse teams on a sun-filled afternoon in Georgia as the game marked the first A-Sun contest in league history.

Despite playing in just its fourth year as a program, JU (8-3; 1-0) is looking more and more like a veteran squad everyday, but JU head coach Mindy McCord can certainly relate to the growing pains Kennesaw State (0-7; 0-1) is experiencing this season as a first year Division I team. .

“Year number one is about planning your future and mentoring those student-athletes who want to be on you bus,” Commented McCord, whose Dolphins have journeyed from their inaugural season three years ago to A-Sun front runner and NCAA record setter.

“We had to teach a team how to be Division I players in our first season and had a real mix of talent. It was a challenge and I learned a lot. We were fortunate to win eight games and get to the conference tournament semi-finals. I think KSU has a lot to look forward to and they are a scrappy bunch.”

The Dolphins wasted no time in establishing their record setting offense. They scored ten goals in the opening 8:29 led by three goals from sophomore Taylor McCord (Jacksonville, Fla.) and two from senior Amanda Hurley (Columbus, Ga.) The Florida-Georgia combo would end up with six goals and an assist for the game. Local Georgia prep-product Nikki Erdely (Cumming, Ga.) added a hat trick and an assist for four points while junior Brit Orashen (Lebanon, N.J.) continued her remarkable season with four goals on four shots, four ground balls, three ground balls and a caused turnover.

Fifteen players scored for the Dolphins who rotated each player for approximately thirty minutes of playing time in an effort to create a competitive environment and develop depth on the roster.

“When you are growing the sport, you want to play your best and you want to provide options for growth amongst your team and on your opponent. We certainly gained in our first season by playing some top tier programs. Those lessons helped us to dig deep and become a championship team in our second year. At the same time, you have to be sensitive to respecting the game. We were encouraged by our depth today and the future of the program is bright, as is KSU’s.” added McCord.

Senior Rachael Krell (Apopka, Fla.) contributed a hat trick, one of five on the day, and sophomore Holly Ventimiglia (Medford, N.Y.) and reigning A-Sun attack player of the week junior Morgan Derner (Lake Mary, Fla.) each added three points.

Goal keeping was strong, with senior Karli Tobin (Moorestown, N.J.) leading the way with two saves and no goals against. Sophomore Asia Moore (Apex, N.C.) made three saves and yielded two goals in relief of Tobin in the second half.

“I loved our ball movement today and our team focus. We talk a lot about how special it is that we are all here at JU together. There is a special bond between this team and a love that is infectious. In games like today that spills over onto the field with athletes supporting athletes. It was fun to be a part of and we hope to continue growing as we build momentum towards May. Every practice and time spent together is precious to our eight seniors and their teammates.”

The Dolphins, who have earned a top-25 computer ranking four consecutive weeks will continue their A-Sun schedule next weekend with a home contest against in-state rival Stetson. Game time is 3pm as it is Youth and Community Day, featuring a clinic with JU players and coaches.

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