Despite a tremendous defensive effort, Elon University women’s lacrosse team lost to Virginia Commonwealth University 9-8 in overtime.

Freshman midfielder Anna Hackett opened up the scoring for the Phoenix with a goal within the opening minute. The Rams followed up with a 3-0 run led by two goals from senior attacker Juliana George.

The game would remain a defensive battle for its remainder, apart from a 5-0 run by the Phoenix through the second and third quarters. The goalies on both ends of the field played exceptionally well. Sophomore goalie Chloe Herghelegiu finished with a career-high 13 saves.

“A good confidence boost for her today,” head coach Josh Hexter said. “We made the decision to start her, and she did great really throughout the entire game. So I'm really proud of Chloe.”

The Phoenix continued to play sharply in the middle of the field, clearing the ball successfully and causing nine turnovers. Freshman defender Jessie Penner played with high energy all game, leading the way in ground balls with three.

“Our defense played really well together,” Hackett said. “We worked really hard on sliding and staying on a string.”

Erin Martin | Elon News Network
Sophomore midfielder Sammy Fisher goes to scoop up the ball after a draw during the Elon vs. VCU game on Feb. 18.

VCU tied the game at 8-8 with 3:01 left to play in the fourth quarter. With a chance to take the lead, the Phoenix could not convert on offense. The Rams carried the momentum into overtime, scoring one minute and 20 seconds into the first three-minute period off George’s fourth goal of the match.

“It's tough losing one-goal games like that,” Hexter said. “We just need to be better as a coaching staff for these guys and make sure that we're more fully prepared to play.”

Hackett scored a team-high and career-high of four goals, along with causing a team-high of three turnovers. This game marks her second straight game with three or more goals and only her third career game.

“The goal is just like the last part,” Hackett said. “It's the whole offense working together to create that open person.”

Elon is now 1-2 after three home games to open the season. Elon will head on the road for the first time with a matchup against the George Mason University Patriots (0-3) on Feb. 23. The game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

“I'm hoping we keep playing with good energy,” Hexter said. “Use each game to help us get better.”