Feb. 22, 2014
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – After falling into an early hole, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team didn’t back down from No. 1 North Carolina.
Missing two starters, the Commodores showed some resiliency and fight before succumbing to the undefeated Tar Heels 22-8 on Saturday.
Emma Dagres, Alexa Kunowsky and Abby Wheeler each scored twice and Vanderbilt (2-2) pulled within one goal on two occasions before defending national champ UNC pulled way. The Commodores were without starters Ashlin Dolan and Amanda Lockwood and reserve Annie Vreeland – all out with injuries.
“Clearly we are really pleased with our first-half effort,” coach Cathy Swezey said. “While the final score didn’t show we competed, if you watched the game you would know that we did. Our girls did go hard and did the best they could.”
Vanderbilt fell behind 5-0 early. But draw controls and free position shots began to go in the Commodores’ favor as they scored four straight goals. The Commodores won seven of the first 11 draw controls.
Mallory Schonk scored her team-leading 10th goal on a free position shot to spark the scoring. Kunowsky followed suit with a short-handed free position goal. Kunowsky scored again minutes later on an assist from Caroline Peters out of a free position attempt. Dagres showed off her speed as she raced to the net and flung in her second goal of the season to cut the lead to 5-4.
North Carolina (4-0), which has won eight straight dating back to last year, won the ensuing draw control and responded for a two-goal lead. Vanderbilt’s Meggie Ramzy closed the gap by picking up a loose ball in the front of the net and scoring for a 6-5 deficit.
The Tar Heels answered with two goals before Dagres received a pass from Schonk and went high for her second goal of the game. The goal cut the deficit to just 8-6 with 3:29 left in the first half.
But UNC scored the next six goals, including four in the final minute of the first half. Vanderbilt trailed 13-6 at halftime and never recovered. The Commodores have lost 10 straight against UNC and fall to 1-18 in the series.
“That really separated the game,” Swezey said. “We played three midfielders (a majority of the game due to injuries). It was a lot to ask. It was tough. They gave the best they have. I’m disappointed with the loss. I’m disappointed with the score. But I’m really proud of our girls.”
Both of Wheeler’s goals came in the second half as she scored on a free position shot and off an assist from freshman Jill Doherty.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Kratz played valiantly in the net. She made 11 saves and thwarted off a flurry of shots in the first half to keep the game close.
“I think she faced 42 shots,” Swezey said. “She had a great day. I hate to see her disappointed after the loss.”
Vanderbilt continues a three-game road trip next weekend at Stanford on March 2 and then stayed out West for a bout against Denver on March 5.