Late rally not enough as 'Dores fall to No. 20 Denver

Feb. 23, 2015

Box Score

Swezey Interview| Doherty Interview

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Every other shot went in for the Vanderbilt lacrosse team on Monday afternoon as the Commodores shot a respectable 50 percent from the field.

The problem was VU didn't possess the ball enough.

The Commodores mustered just 18 shots and committed 16 turnovers in a 13-9 loss to No. 20 Denver in the Multipurpose Facility. It was the first loss of the season for Vanderbilt, which had started 3-0 for the first time in seven years.

Vanderbilt (3-1) looked poised to make it four straight wins as it scored the first three goals of the game. But just more than halfway through the first half, Denver (2-1) had erased the deficit and pulled ahead. The Commodores briefly tied it but the Pioneers rattled off three more before halftime for a 7-4 lead, built up a five-goal lead in the second half and staved off a late Vanderbilt rally.

"We just didn't have possession," Vanderbilt coach Cathy Swezey said. "We turned the ball over a lot in the midfield. We did have some difficulty following some of the things we put in the game plan in our scout and that was a little frustrating for us as coaches. But I know our kids are working hard. I know they care a lot. I know they are passionate so I'm hoping we'll bounce back."

The start looked promising as the Commodores won the first four draw controls and took a 3-0 lead. Mallory Schonk scored in the third minute, Kelly Chandler slid in for a goal and then Jill Doherty found Alexa Kunowsky for the third goal at the 23:27 mark. But then the Pioneers switched up their technique on the draw control, flipping the ball out horizontally instead of playing a leaping game - a strength for Vanderbilt's Kelly Chandler, who entered the game ranked fifth in the country with 7.33 draws a game.

The move worked as Denver scored two goals in 54 seconds to pull within one with still 20 minutes left in the half. It looked like the Commodores would momentarily stop the run when Doherty sliced the defense for a nifty goal. But her score was waved off fora stick infraction as officials ruled the pocket was too deep. Within a few minutes, Denver scored twice to take the lead for the first time, marking the first time all season Vanderbilt has trailed.

Doherty would get the goal, scoring her eighth of the season at the 10:49 markto tie the game 4-4. The score stay knotted for a while until Denver went on a flurry at the end of the first half that provided a big momentum boost. Kiki Boone, who led the Pioneers with three goals, scored the go-ahead goal with 3:21 to go in the half. Then Denver really provided the daggers, scoring twice in the last 45 seconds to take a 7-4 lead into halftime.

The Pioneers pushed the lead to five goals in the second half. The Commodores didn't quit though as senior captainMeggie Ramzynetted consecutive goals and Schonkdrove to the net to cut the lead to 11-9 with 5:36 left. But Kunowsky'sfree position shot within the final three minutes was stopped by goal keeper HannahHook and Denver scored twice in the last 2:15 to seal the victory.

"Our defense played great and we were able to put a lot of pressure on their ball handlers," Doherty said. "But we weren't able to really get that over and convert that into goals, which is really what you need. Simple -- we weren't able to make some of our shots in the end. We really didn't have a lot of possessions. That's definitely what you need. But I think our defense played great."

Clutch goal keeping kept the Commodores in the game. Sophomore Callahan Kent, who had started the first three games, came off the bench with 22:35 left in the game to spell starter Maddie Kratz. Kent made an impact right away, stopping three straight shots and making a total of 12 saves -- a career-high -- while allowing just four goals.

"Cal really stepped up for us today," Swezey said. "She had some huge saves in the second half -- and multiple saves, like save, save, save all in one possession. Hopefully next time she makes that number of saves our defense will come up with the ball."

Offensively, Schonk and Ramzy each scored three goals,Dohertyalso had a goal and two assists (along with three caused turnovers) and Kunowsky and Chandler each scored once.

The Commodores hit the road for a trip to Philadelphia to play No. 12 Pennat 12 p.m. on Sunday.

"I'm confident we will regroup," Swezey said. "I have no doubt in this team. I know they don't like to lose. We are a competitive group. So I'm confident they will get it together and we'll give Penn a good game."



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