In its final home game of 2023, the Elon University lacrosse team fell in the final seconds to the University of Delaware, 12-11. This marks the sixth straight loss for the Phoenix against a Colonial Athletic Association opponent on the 2022-23 season.
The Phoenix entered Rudd Field in last place in the CAA but hoped to play spoiler. The Blue Hens continue to fight for the final seed in the upcoming conference tournament in Towson, Maryland.
As a tradition of the final homestand, Elon celebrated its nine seniors on its annual Senior Day. The pre-game festivities were followed by an exciting back-and-forth matchup with two teams hoping to close the season positively.
“This team means a lot to me,” senior midfielder Kaley Ehnow said. “I appreciate everyone that comes out there and plays their best.”
Elon began the game with four straight goals, quickly answered by the Blue Hens, who scored three to close the first quarter. After that, the two teams traded blows until the final moments of the first half, when the matchup was delayed due to lighting.
After a 45-minute break between halves, the players returned to finish a tightly contested game. With playoff hopes and senior night on the line, Delaware fought until the end.
Down by one, and with a penalty, Ehnow scored a goal with 29 seconds remaining. Ehnow finished her career at Rudd Field with an impressive five-point performance.
“Can't do it all by myself, and everyone else plays a factor,” Ehnow said. “Leaving it all out there, last home game was exciting.”
A storybook ending for Ehnow and the Phoenix was quickly postponed. The Blue Hens won the following draw control and moved quickly until the ball reached the stick of freshman attack McKenzie Didio. With five seconds left, Didio spun off a defender and won the game to keep Delaware’s playoff hopes alive heading into the final week.
“Kaley played her heart out,” head coach Josh Hexter said. “She played fearless.”
Throughout the contest, Ehnow matched up with senior defender and reigning CAA defensive player of the week Madison Hranika. With three caused turnovers, Hranika tied the single-season record for the Blue Hens.
“It's a compliment. She played great,” Ehnow said. “She always plays with hustle. I love her game.”
Ehnow’s four-goal performance powered the offense for the Phoenix, along with three goals from sophomore midfielder Sammy Fisher. The defensive end was anchored by first-year goalie Caitlin Walsh who finished with 11 saves.
“We try to empower them to make good decisions and be aggressive out there,” Hexter said. “Sammy ended up having a couple of those opportunities, and she took advantage.”
The Phoenix will travel to finish the season April 29 with a matchup against the William & Mary Tribe. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m.
“All over the field, we stepped up our game,” Hexter said. “When we play with good energy and a little more fearlessness, we can do really good things.”