The Elon University women’s lacrosse team is off to a strong start. A group of young talent led by freshman midfielder Stephanie Asher has propelled the program to a 7-3 start this season.
Asher made an immediate difference for the Phoenix this year. After ten games she leads the team with 33 goals, including eight-goal games.
“It’s really an honor [to be playing so well],” she said. “I can’t take all the credit. I have amazing teammates that help me play the way I play.”
While Asher provides an offensive spark for the Phoenix, she also has a history of success across multiple sports before coming to Elon.
Asher started playing lacrosse in kindergarten in Glenelg, Maryland. By the time she reached high school, she was excelling in both lacrosse and field hockey.
She earned first-team all-county honors in her junior and senior years for lacrosse. By the time she graduated, she was named All-American honorable mention.
Asher was a well-decorated field hockey player with 101 career goals. She was selected to the all-county team twice, and her team won three 2A/3A field hockey state championships. In her senior season, she was named the Howard County Player of the Year.
Though she enjoyed field hockey, she knew she wanted to play lacrosse at a higher level.
“I’ve always liked lacrosse better. It’s a faster game,” she said. “Being from Maryland, I think [lacrosse] was so big that I was always surrounded by it.”
Elon’s startup lacrosse program attracted Asher, who wanted a chance to be a part of history with the team. She connected well with both her teammates and the coaching staff, making the transition from high school to college easier.
“What stands out most to me is her competitive fire,” said head coach Josh Hexter. “She pushes our team to be better by how she plays in practice.”
Off the field, Asher plans to get a degree in exercise science. She hopes to become an occupational therapist for autistic children.
On the field, Asher had to change parts of her game to adjust to the college style of play.
“The defense you’re allowed to play is a lot more aggressive,” she said. “As an attacker, I’ve had to work harder to dodge and get past my defenders.”
In her regular season debut Jan. 31, Asher scored five goals and won three draw controls in a 24-8 win against Kennesaw State University. On Feb. 22 against Stetson University, Asher scored a career-high six goals, and finished the game with four draw control wins and three assists.
Despite her impressive debut, Asher still looks for ways to improve. She said she feels that her shot has been “off lately,” and she hopes to win more draw controls going forward. Hexter has also noticed an improvement on defense.
“I can see the fire she has in practice trying to improve her defense, and it is showing in the games,” he said. “It is becoming contagious to the rest of the team.”
Asher shows no signs of slowing down, scoring five goals in the team’s most recent competition against the Liberty University Flames, which the Phoenix won, 13-8.
“She is incredibly talented athletically,” said Hexter. “As all the great players do, she makes her teammates better.”