Drexel Jumps to Early Leads, Holds on to Nip UMBC

PHILADELPHIA Drexel jumped all over visiting UMBC early and held on late as the Dragons snapped a three-game losing skid with a 9-8 victory over the Retrievers. The Dragons led 4-0 before letting UMBC get on the board, then endured a 22:55 scoring drought as the Retrievers evened things up. Drexel never trailed in the game.

Kelly Palace scored three goals to lead the Dragons (3-3), including two in the final 12:35 of play to provide the eventual game-winners. Emily Duffey added two scores. Teresha Bradley stopped nine Retriever shots, including several from point blank range. It was her second-highest save total of the young season.

Drexel controlled play, winning 16 of the game's 19 draw controls. Milan White, who took the draws for the Dragons, came up with five herself, as did Amanda Norcini. Nevertheless, 15 Drexel turnovers kept the Retrievers in the contest.

The Dragons wasted little time jumping on top in their first home game in 10 days. Joelle Hartke got the scoring started less than two minutes into the action. That was followed 1:58 later by Palace's first goal, a man-up score after UMBC's Jackie Benson had drawn her first of two yellow cards on the afternoon. Alissa Watts roped in her fourth goal of the season exactly a minute later, giving the Dragons a 3-0 lead just 4:45 into the game.

Drexel would make it 4-0 at the 14:48 mark when Emily Duffey notched the first of two goals for her on Saturday, taking a feed from Hartke behind the net and nudging past a defender before scoring.

That would be the end of the Drexel offensive production for nearly 23 minutes of game play. UMBC finally got on the board in the 25 th minute of play, adding a second with less than a minute remaining in the first half to slash Drexel's lead in half.

Despite the Dragons' continued dominance of the draw controls in the second half, UMBC managed to force Drexel mistakes and square the game at four goals apiece less than 2:30 into the second half. Kristen Bilney scored the second of three goals for her on the afternoon to tie the score with 27:35 to play.

That seemed to wake the Dragons up. Duffey put Drexel back on top, beating the UMBC defense down the field and scoring her seventh of the season with 21:54 to play.

Duffey's second goal began a back-and-forth that saw Drexel take the lead on three different occasions in the second half, only to see the Retrievers battle back. UMBC tied things at five just two minutes after Duffey's goal. Amanda Norcini followed with a free position goal to put Drexel back on top, with Caroline Thiele making it a two-goal margin with 18:04 to play. The Retrievers responded with two more in the next five minutes, knotting things once again at 7-7.

With 12:35 to play, the senior Palace took over on offense. She beat newly-inserted UMBC goalkeeper Kelley Gielner to the upper left corner, leaving the Dragons ahead 8-7. With 6:01 to play, after the Dragons had burned several minutes with a solid passing performance, she took a pass at the top of the circle and was fouled, earning a free position shot that she converted to make it 9-7.

UMBC would make things interesting at the end, cutting it to a one-goal Drexel lead on Bilney's third goal with 5:05 to play. The Dragons once again went into a methodical, passing offense, but a late turnover allowed the Retrievers one more chance. As she had been so many times already on the afternoon, Bradley was up to the task as she stonewalled the Retrievers' late chances and kept Drexel on top. The Dragons managed to cause a big turnover in the final seconds with UMBC threatening once more, sealing up the victory.

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