JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A strong defensive showing combined with nine different players finding the back of the net allowed Jacksonville University women's lacrosse to bounce back with a 19-11 victory over Villanova at D.B. Milne Field.
"It was a real impressive effort on a total team play. Assisting on almost half our goals and having that much diversity in scoring really is hard to stop," stated head coach Mindy McCord. "[Villanova] is one of the best draw teams out there and they have one of the best centers. We were able to change the tide in the second half to get closer in this and that gave us more possessions. We had a lot of second chance opportunities with our ground balls; even with all of the shots that hit pipe, we secured possession. We did a good job breaking their runs, taking possession time when we needed it, and staying confident."
As a team, the Dolphins held the advantage in shots (41-25), ground balls (23-13), and free-position goals (6-4) but the Wildcats held a slight 18-14 lead in draw controls.
Seniors MacEllen McDonough (4 goals) and Ashtyn Hiron (3g, 2a), along with junior Lillie Miller (3g, 1a) led the Dolphins as JU scored early and often and never allowed the visitors to gain an advantage.
Defensively, junior goalkeeper Kristen Brunoforte had an outstanding day between the pipes, with five saves in each half to keep the Wildcats at bay.
Added McCord, "I'm really proud of Bruno to step in and get 10 saves and have that kind of confidence. She worked really hard this week to make the adjustments that she needed to make and come out and support the team. She made some key saves and that allowed everyone to relax."
The Dolphins (3-2) quickly got on the board with four-straight goals from junior Erin McGuire (27:58), Hiron (25:26), Miller (24:48), and McDonough (22:13) to jump out to an early lead.
A 4-0 run of their own allowed Villanova (3-2) to tie the game up with 17:34 to go before halftime, but Jacksonville had other plans and added a second four-goal streak to double up the Wildcats, 8-4, at the 9:50 mark. Sophomore Parker Day posted both of her goals during that run – including a short-handed goal with 9:50 to play – while freshman Megan Prescott added her first and McDonough recorded her second of the game.
The Dolphins and Wildcats traded tallies through the end of the half and JU held a 10-6 lead at the intermission.
Jacksonville continued its dominating ways in the second half, with five of the first seven goals thanks to McDonough (26:48), freshmen Lauren Phillips (17:14) and Jenny Kinsey (15:54), Hiron (14:47), and Miller (11:07).
A mark from sophomore Genie Santarpio with 10:16 showing opened up a 4-2 run for the Dolphins that closed out the game and handed Jacksonville the final 19-11 advantage.
Hiron finished the day with a team-high six draw controls, while Miller caused two turnovers and grabbed a ground ball. Senior Mackenzie Groak also recorded a pair of ground balls and caused three turnovers on the day.
Villanova's Jillian Swikart led all scorers with five goals, while Devin Hassinger and Kim McDonough won seven draws each. Goalies Julia Michaels (3 saves) and Khaia Baranowski (11 saves) split time in the crease and combined for 14 saves. Michaels took the loss and fell to 3-2 on the year.
The Dolphins return to action next Sunday when they play host to Vermont at 1 p.m.