NORFOLK, Va. – Nine goals in the second half lifted Jacksonville University (4-4, 1-0) to a 12-7 road victory over Old Dominion (4-4, 0-1) Friday in the ASUN Conference opener at a windy L.R. Sports Complex. MacEllen McDonough and Courtney Valdez each scored a hat trick in the Dolphin victory.
Both teams showed strong on defense and found inconsistent play on offense, with Jacksonville holding a 3-2 lead at the break.
Connor Carson scored the game's first goal at the 25:24 mark to give the Monarchs first blood. Less than 90 seconds later, McDonough scored her eighth of the season to even the game. Parker Day flung the net on a man-up goal at 19:41 for the first Dolphin lead of the day. It became a two-goal lead over 10 minutes later when Hannah Wilcox scored on an assist from Danielle Della Rocca.
Megan Cameron of ODU scored the period's final goal with just 33 seconds remaining, and JU took a one-score lead into halftime.
Valdez picked up the first score of the half at 27:44, but the Monarchs answered with a pair of goals. JU answered with two of its own from Wilcox on a Jaime Chapman helper at 18:37, and 37 seconds later Ashtyn Hiron got in on the action.
After a Sophia Richie score cut the Dolphin lead to 6-5 with 14:56 to go, Jacksonville went on a four-goal run to separate from the hosts. Valdez scored twice, once on a free position and then her third of the game came unassisted. Chapman scored on a Lille Miller assist, and at 5:32 Della Rocca scored her first of the day on a pass from Abby Remenapp.
Megan Cameron of Old Dominion ended the Dolphin run with a free position goal at 3:46, but McDonough finished her hat trick with goals at the 3:05 and 1:11 marks.
"That was a great defensive first half and a great offensive second half and one of the strangest game vibe I have ever been a part of. It seemed like we caused so many turnovers and got the call back in the strangest of places that we would give the all back at times. Our goalie was a difference maker. She came up with more ground balls and stops-per-possession faced and we really relied on her when the chips were down." - Head Coach Mindy McCord
"Our attack was getting frustrated by their zone defense but most of our frustration was really as a result of the turnovers we forced. We got the ball back so quickly, so often and with so many different players that our offense was trying a bunch of strange looks that caused more turnovers. In the second half scoring nine goals and seeing Courtney and MacEllen step up was the difference. Court was the force that broke the game open and Mac was the dagger in the heart. We knew they would throw everything at D and other players stepped up like champions today." - Associate Head Coach Paul McCord
Jacksonville picked up 26 ground balls while Old Dominion collected 19, and outshot the hosts 29-19. The Dolphins won seven draw controls while ODU took home 14. The Monarchs went 17-24 on clears and JU was 18-18. Jacksonville had 25 turnovers and ODU committed 32. Erika Brager led the team with caused turnovers and Mackenzie Groark had five ground balls. Sydney Matthews earned the win in goal to move to 4-2 with five saves.
Jacksonville has now won 25 consecutive ASUN games and continues on the road with a pair of contests at Delaware State (Mar. 31) and Howard (Apr. 2).