Feb. 9, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The go-ahead goal as the first half expired was untimely - but not the difference-maker to Vanderbilt lacrosse coach Cathy Swezey.
It was what the Commodores failed to do after the break - gain possession.
Massachusetts won twice as many draw controls and scored four goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half to pull away and hand Vanderbilt a 13-6 loss in the home opener at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex on Sunday.
"Draw controls always dictate a lot in our game," Swezey said. "We knew that going in and we knew they had somebody (Kelsey McGovern) who had 110 draw controls last year so we knew it was going to be a big part of the game. Unfortunately we just didn't perform. They tended to get the jump on us. They're a well-coached team and they played a great game."
The Commodores (1-1) suffered their first loss despite four goals from sophomore Mallory Schonk, who tied a career-high. Vanderbilt never led but tied the game 4-4 with 2:52 left in the half on Schonk's third consecutive goal, which erased a three-goal deficit.
It appeared the score would be knotted at halftime. But the Minutewomen went the length of the field in about 20 seconds and Melissa Carelli a shot past goalie Maddie Kratz, who made a career-high 12 saves, right as the clock ticked zero to take a 5-4 lead into halftime.
UMass (1-0) then won the opening draw control of the second half and Katie Ferris scored one of her four goals - she is now UMass' all-time leader in career goals - just 82 seconds into the period. Vanderbilt won the ensuing draw control but Abby Wheeler's free position attempt wide. The Minutewomen, who have won five straight Atlantic 10 championships, pounced with three goals in a span of less than three minutes for 9-4 lead with 19:11 left.
The Commodores, who lost the draw control battle 14-7, never recovered and dropped the first meeting between the programs.
"I actually don't look at that goal (before halftime) as being the momentum changer," Swezey said. "It was unfortunate. At the beginning of the second half it was just the succession of draw controls that we were not getting. We had one possession in that first 10 minutes and we didn't make good on it."
Schonk's career-high day came just two days after she dished out a personal-best five assists in a season-opening win against Kennesaw State on Friday. In two games, she has scored six goals and has 11 points, leading the team in both categories.
She scored on all four shots on Saturday as the Commodores mustered just 16 shots compared to UMass' 28.
"Mallory had a strong day - just like she did on opening day," Swezey said. "She was consistently getting her job done. We just needed a couple more weapons to really show we could the offensive threat we needed to be."
Midfielders Ashlin Dolan and Alexa Kunowsky bookended the scoring for Vanderbilt, with each tallying their first goals of the season. Sophomore Kelly Chandler won four draw controls and matched a career-high with three caused turnovers. Senior Brandi Byner also tied a career-high with three caused turnovers and collected three ground balls. Sophomore Emma Dagres set a career-high with three ground balls.
Vanderbilt has five days to regroup before hosting Liberty at 1 p.m. on Saturday.