It was opening day at Reese Stadium on Saturday for the women’s lacrosse team as it faced off against Holy Cross. The Elis were anchored by goalie Whitney Quackenbush ’12 as they sailed to a 8–5 victory over the Crusaders.

The Bulldog defense created the first scoring opportunity of the game: Michele Fiorentino ’10 caused a turnover that resulted in a goal for Devon Rhodes ’13 — the first of her career — as she placed the ball past Crusader goalie Amy Martin. Jessica Sturgill ’10 made it 2–0 a minute and a half later, continuing where she left off last season when she finished as the top goal-scorer for the Elis. Even though Sturgill came out strong offensively, the senior says the Bulldogs will continue to put time into organizing their attack.

“After Saturday’s game, we’ve realized we need to focus offensively on working better together and on our shooting,” she said.

Rhodes and Sturgill connected minutes later to give Sturgill her second goal of the day, but not before Ali Baird of Holy Cross snuck a shot past Quackenbush as the Bulldogs tried to kill off their first yellow card.

With the Bulldogs up 3–1 at 4:52 of the first half, Kaitlyn Flatley ’11, an All-Ivy League honoree last season, took matters into her own hands as she dodged through multiple Crusader defenders before beating Martin for the Elis’ fourth goal of the day.

Just under three minutes later, Rhodes came up with an assist once again as she fed Myra Trivellas ’11 who scored to make it 5–1 for the Bulldogs going into halftime.

The Elis jump-started the scoring in the second half as Rhodes received a feed from Sarah David ’10 before putting the ball in the back of the net. The freshman saw the game as a good first outing that the Bulldogs can look to build on.

“We can use [the game] as a baseline for our level of play and use the upcoming weeks to tweak what we need to in order to succeed,” Rhodes said.

The Crusaders showed a short surge with 20 minutes remaining when they produced two quick goals, one of which came from a free position, to cut the lead to three. However, seconds later the surge was extinguished by Krissy Chapman ’13 who scored her first career goal off a feed from attacker Jenna Block ’10.

More than seven minutes later, Rhodes completed a hat trick as she netted her third of the day to wrap up the scoring for the Bulldogs. The Crusaders would score twice more before the whistle blew to make it an 8–5 final.

Quackenbush, who stopped a free position shot with only six minutes left to play, continued to be solid in goal as she recorded 11 saves to seal the win.

After starting their season off strong the Bulldogs will look to continue to ride that momentum.

“We have the talent, we just need to fine-tune some things,” Sturgill said.

The Elis will return to action at Reese Stadium on Wednesday to face Fairfield at 4 p.m.