GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University women's lacrosse used a 5-0 run to close the gap in the first half, but the Dolphins closed out the 2018 season with a high-scoring affair in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against No. 15 Colorado at the University of Florida's Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The Buffaloes ultimately prevailed against the Dolphins' high-powered offense, 23-18.
The Dolphins finished the season with a 16-4 overall record.
"It's incredibly sad to see this team's season come to an end. These seniors were something special and they played their hearts out. They really did," stated head coach Mindy McCord. "What's more about our seniors is that they grew so much in four years. They were responsible for the record-breaking offense that we had this season and all the success we had. None can be replaced but I challenge our team to rise just like each of the senior did in their career and continue building this program to higher heights. I thought we fought hard today. In the second half we had three calls that put us man-down, but that's the way the game went. We gave up a big run to Colorado early and had to play catch up. The goal at the end of the half, when we had all the momentum, also hurt. Colorado was well rested and prepared for us; they deserved to win this game."
Senior Ashtyn Hiron led the Dolphins with seven points (3 goals, 4 assists), while sophomore Kasey Stevens and freshman Sarah Elms posted four goals each. Graduate student Emily Poelma (4 saves) shared time in the crease with junior Kristen Brunoforte (7 saves) as the duo combined for 11 saves.
Facing a 3-0 deficit early on, Jacksonville got found an answer from the nation's leader in free-position percentage as Hiron converted from the eight-meter line at the 26:32 to make it 3-1.
Both teams traded goals, and the Dolphins came within three, 7-4, with 18:28 showing, but the Buffs rans out on a 6-0 run to take a 13-4 advantage with 13:28 on the clock.
After replacing Poelma in the cage, Brunoforte was immediately tested and answered the bell with a trio of saves.
Facing a nine-goal deficit, the Dolphins countered with a 6-1 run of their own, with a pair of goals from both Miller and Arnold, to bring Jacksonville within four, 14-10, with 30.9 before halftime. Colorado (14-5) managed a shot in transition with 1.0 on the board to make it 15-10 at halftime.
Coming out of the intermission, the Dolphins immediately pressured the Buffs with a 4-1 run as Stevens completed her hat trick at the 24:52 mark.
The teams again traded a pair of goals before Colorado called a timeout and looked to pause the Dolphins' momentum with 18:39 to go.
The break allowed the Buffs a chance regain its footing with a 5-0 run to put the game out of reach, 23-15, with 7:38 remaining.
The Dolphins closed out the game on a 3-0 run with goals from Elms 3:17), Stevens (3:01), and senior MacEllen McDonough on an impressive shovel shot off a feed from Hiron (1:03), but it wasn't enough as the Dolphins fell 23-18 at the final whistle.