Drexel Jumps to Early Lead, Hangs on to Top Monmouth

PHILADELPHIA - Quick starts have had a major impact on Drexel 's season. When the Dragons have struggled, opponents have often gotten big leads early and held off a Drexel comeback attempt. Over the past two games, Drexel has turned the tables.

As was the case last week when they defeated Towson, the Dragons bolted out of the gates on Saturday evening against Monmouth, building a 7-0 lead before holding off the Hawks in the second half to claim a 9-6 win in Drexel's non-conference finale. Emily Duffey scored three goals for Drexel in the victory, her second hat trick of the season.

The Dragons (6-7) won back-to-back games for the first time since March 8-12. Drexel has done well all year when reaching the nine-goal mark, now sitting at 6-1 in such games. The Dragons have also been strong at home, winning five of seven contests at Vidas Field.

Drexel got the scoring started nearly five minutes into the action when Joelle Hartke wrapped in her 16th score of the season and the first of two goals for the junior on the evening. Exactly 10 minutes into the game, Duffey netted her first of the night, beating Monmouth goalie Katie Donohoe high to put Drexel ahead 2-0 and prompt a Hawks timeout. The stoppage did little to change the momentum of the game, with Duffey finishing another at the 16:27 mark.

Less than three minutes later, Kelly Palace drove in and went low to beat Donohoe, giving the Dragons a four-goal cushion. Monmouth had fallen behind despite doing a strong job on the opening draws, but Drexel began to assert itself there, as well, as the Dragons immediately regained possession and forced a free position shot, which Emily Kellett converted.

Freshman Lacey Aghazarian finished the game-opening flurry for the Dragons, weaving her way inside to put Drexel ahead 7-0 with 6:38 to play. It was not until the 5:31 mark, over 24 minutes into the action, that Monmouth finally got on the board with an Olivia Higson free position conversion.

That goal, however, seemed to take some of the weight off the Hawks' shoulders. Monmouth clamped down defensively, forcing several Drexel turnovers and slowly working its way back into the game. The Hawks made it 7-3 early in the second half before Kelly Palace ended a 17:58 scoreless drought for the Dragons with a free position score with 18:40 to play. Monmouth responded with two more goals over the next four minutes to slash its deficit to three.

Up 8-5, the Dragons began to tighten up defensively. Drexel would ultimately force 19 Monmouth turnovers, including seven in the second half. Neither team scored for nearly 13 minutes before Duffey helped the Dragons ice the game away with her third score of the game, her 14th of the season with 1:30 remaining. A late Monmouth goal prevented the Dragons from matching their best defensive output of the season, but did little to help the Hawks catch up to the Dragons.

Drexel will now hit the road for its next two games, both key Colonial Athletic Association match-ups in the state of Virginia next weekend. The Dragons will visit James Madison on Friday followed by a visit to William & Mary on Sunday.

* * * *

PHILADELPHIA- Monmouth (6-7, 3-1 MAAC) rallied from a seven-goal deficit but ultimately fell short to Drexel (6-7, 1-1 CAA) on Saturday night in the Hawks' final non-conference match of the season.

Drexel opened up a 7-0 lead late in the first half before Monmouth awoke, scoring five of the next six goals to close to 8-5 with 14:26 to play. The Hawks would have a few chances at the Dragon net, but the two teams went scoreless for the next 13 minutes before Emily Duffey scored her third goal of the game with 90 seconds remaining to push the lead to 9-5. Sophomore Michelle Gonzales (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) tallied the final goal of the game with 36 seconds left but Mu ultimately fell 9-6.

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