Swezey Interview | Chandler Interview
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team couldn’t have asked for better weather in early February to open their season.
The Commodores couldn’t have asked for a better season-opening performance, either.
Vanderbilt kicked open 2015 with an impressive 24-1 blowout victory over Kennesaw State on Saturday afternoon at the VU Lacrosse Complex. In the process, the Commodores set two program records. The 24 goals were the most in program history, besting the 23 scored against Binghamton on April 14, 2010. It was also the Commodores' largest margin victory in program history, eclipsing a 22-2 defeat of Denver on April 16, 2000.
Thirteen players scored, eight notched multiple goals and three recorded hat tricks. Junior Mallory Schonk led the way with a career-high six assists, which is the second-most in a single game in program history, in addition to three goals. Kelly Chandler and Maggie Ramzy also had three goals apiece as the Commodores led 17-0 at halftime and Kennesaw’s lone goal came late in the second half.
“The thing we’re most excited about is high of a level our team performed,” Vanderbilt coach Cathy Swezey said. "To remain consistently strong for 60 minutes and to go as hard as they did I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
It took only 24 seconds for the Commodores (1-0) to take the lead. Ramzy, a senior captain, scored the first of her career-high three goals on a pass from Schonk. A couple minutes later Alexa Kunowsky scored on a free-position shot to start a flurry of Commodore goals. Over the next 2:40, the ‘Dores scored seven goals. It started with Kunowsky and then was followed by goals from Schonk, Jill Doherty, two by Emma Dagres, Schonk again and then finally Sarah Wilcox.
Just like that, five minutes into the game, the Commodores led 8-0.
“The speed, the power, the aggression, right off the bat,” Swezey said. “I told them at halftime to be able to coach a team without having to call many plays. It is just the maturity and experience that has finally happened for us. They showed that maturity right off the bat. To not have to run the game like I’ve had to the last two years was just really refreshing.”
Doherty had two goals and two assists. Dagres had two goals and an assist. Caroline Peters, Kunowsky and Wilcox also scored two apiece. For Wilcox, a junior, they were the first two goals of her career.
Also getting in on the scoring was Abby Quirk, who also had two assists, and Amanda Lockwood, who had an assist as well, and freshmen Kayla Peterson, Jess Dadino and Leah Peterson. Leah Peterson also notched an assist.
All 24 available players saw playing time for the Commodores. Sophomore goalkeeper Callahan Kent made her third career start and made two saves, stonewalling two first-half attempts by the Owls (0-1).
Vanderbilt maintained possession for most of the game, winning the draw control battle 23-4. Chandler tied a career high with five draw controls and Dagres set a personal-best with four. Kunowsky (5) and Schonk (4) both set career-highs in ground balls as the team had a decisive 25-12 edge in that category. And the ’Dores caused eight turnovers, including two by freshman Margaret Fee, who made her first career start.
Vanderbilt now has more than a week off before hitting the road to play Liberty at 11 a.m. (CST) on Sunday in Lynchburg, Va.