The 16th ranked Elon University women's lacrosse team fell short to No. 20 Duke University tonight, losing 10-9 at Rudd Field in their last non-conference game. 

Plagued by 21 turnovers each, both the Phoenix and the Blue Devils struggled to maintain possession of the ball for much of the game. Despite having 30 shots on goal to Duke’s 20, Elon’s strong offensive efforts fell short.

“It’s definitely frustrating, but I know that we can shoot better than we did,” said senior attacker Sloane Kessler.

Duke started the second half with a goal from junior midfielder Maddie Crutchfield to stretch the lead 8-4. The Phoenix answered with three goals from attackers Nicole Sinacori, Stephanie Asher, and Anna Vitton. Strong defensive play and four saves from Elon goalie Rachel Ramirez held Duke scoreless until 5:12 left in the half, when Duke’s Hayley Shaffer scored a man-up goal to pull ahead 9-7.

Elon’s Stephanie Asher answered with two back-to-back free position goals to tie the game 9-9 with 3:41 to go. Despite dynamic offensive rallies for the Phoenix, late game turnovers gave Duke possession in the final seconds. With 12 seconds remaining, Duke’s Crutchfield clenched the 10-9 win with an unassisted goal.

“We were thinking ‘Get the ball, run our plays, and we’ll be fine,’ but unfortunately we couldn’t convert on that,” Asher said of the final minutes of the game. She finished the game with three goals, giving her 39 goals in the season.

With winning in reach, head coach Josh Hexter recognized that keeping possession was a pivotal issue for his team. “We had so many chances to put this game away, and we didn’t do it. I think we gave [Duke] a ton of opportunities.”

The Phoenix, now 8-3, will take on James Madison 5:00 p.m. April 7th in Harrisonburg, VA.

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