Jacksonville Storms Past Kennesaw State in A-Sun Play

KENNESAW, Ga. Freshman Senneca Ward (Peachtree City, Ga./McIntosh HS) and junior Emily Collins (Snellville, Ga./Decatur HS) each scored a goal during the Kennesaw State lacrosse team's Atlantic Sun Conference opener against Jacksonville Saturday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

The efforts of Ward and Collins, however, were not enough as the Owls (0-7, 0-1) suffered a 22-2 setback to a more experienced Dolphins (8-3, 1-0) team.

With a roster of nearly twice as many players in uniform than Kennesaw State, Jacksonville showed its ability early in the contest and eventually built a 16-0 halftime lead.

The Owls were finally able to break through at the 10:40 mark of the second half when Ward scored on a free position shot. Collins' goal came within with just over three minutes remaining, scoring on another free position shot and extending her streak with at least one point to five games.

Kennesaw State will return to action Friday, April 4, when it hosts Howard in an A-Sun Conference game and the home finale of the Owls' inaugural season.

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ENNESAW, Ga. - Jacksonville earned a 22-2 victory at Kennesaw State on Saturday in a historic match-up between two original Atlantic Sun women's lacrosse teams on a sun-filled afternoon in Georgia as the game marked the first A-Sun contest in league history.

Despite playing in just its fourth year as a program, JU (8-3; 1-0) is looking more and more like a veteran squad everyday, but JU head coach Mindy McCord can certainly relate to the growing pains Kennesaw State (0-7; 0-1) is experiencing this season as a first year Division I team. .

"Year number one is about planning your future and mentoring those student-athletes who want to be on you bus," Commented McCord, whose Dolphins have journeyed from their inaugural season three years ago to A-Sun front runner and NCAA record setter.

"We had to teach a team how to be Division I players in our first season and had a real mix of talent. It was a challenge and I learned a lot. We were fortunate to win eight games and get to the conference tournament semifinals. I think KSU has a lot to look forward to and they are a scrappy bunch."

The Dolphins wasted no time in establishing their record setting offense. They scored ten goals in the opening 8:29 led by three goals from sophomore Taylor McCord (Jacksonville, Fla.) and two from senior Amanda Hurley (Columbus, Ga.) The Florida-Georgia combo would end up with six goals and an assist for the game. Local Georgia prep-product Nikki Erdely (Cumming, Ga.) added a hat trick and an assist for four points while junior Brit Orashen (Lebanon, N.J.) continued her remarkable season with four goals on four shots, four ground balls, three ground balls and a caused turnover.

Fifteen players scored for the Dolphins who rotated each player for approximately thirty minutes of playing time in an effort to create a competitive environment and develop depth on the roster.

"When you are growing the sport, you want to play your best and you want to provide options for growth amongst your team and on your opponent. We certainly gained in our first season by playing some top tier programs. Those lessons helped us to dig deep and become a championship team in our second year. At the same time, you have to be sensitive to respecting the game. We were encouraged by our depth today and the future of the program is bright, as is KSU's." added McCord.

Senior Rachael Krell (Apopka, Fla.) contributed a hat trick, one of five on the day, and sophomore Holly Ventimiglia (Medford, N.Y.) and reigning A-Sun attack player of the week junior Morgan Derner (Lake Mary, Fla.) each added three points.

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