PHILADELPHIA -- The Vanderbilt lacrosse team battled the elements, fought back from a three-goal deficit in the second half and appeared to be on the verge of a huge upset.
But the Commodores couldn't escape snowy Philadelphia with a win, as No. 12 Penn scored with four seconds left in overtime to hand Vanderbilt a 12-11 loss on Sunday at historic Franklin Field.
"It is frustrating to lose a game like this, and to lose to Penn three years in a row by one goal," Vanderbilt coach Cathy Swezey said. "But this year, to have the conditions be such a factor in the game... we'd love to play them again in dry conditions but that is just not the way it worked out. Our kids did step up. We were down by three at one point and we came back and tied the game. They fought their tails off. We had to scrap a big part of our game plan because of the weather but our kids adjusted pretty quickly to some of the changes we made. We were pleased with that as well."
The temperatures hovered in the low 20s all game, snow began falling two hours before the opening draw and later turned into sleet.Snow constantly had to be brushed away to make key lines visible and the articial turf turned rather slippery, especially late in regulation and overtime.
Even so, Vanderbilt (3-2) battled back after trailing 9-6 with 22:21 left. The comeback started with Jill Doherty's fourth and final goal, when she sidearmed a wicked shot into the net with 18:06 left. Three minutes later Kelly Chandler tied it up on a pass from Doherty. The Commodores went in front, 11-10, with 10:29 left when Chandler found Alexa Kunowsky, who slashed a shot pastgoalkeeper Lucy Ferguson.
Penn's Tory Bensen, however, tied it up with 5:54 left. The Quakerslooked like they had gone ahead with 48 seconds left in regulation on a free position shot but the goal was wiped away after a stick check. Vanderbilt had a shot to win at the end of regulation but Mallory Schonk's shot was stopped by Ferguson.
The Quakers (2-0) won the opening draw of the first three-minute half in overtime. But Amanda Lockwood caused a turnover 17 seconds into give the Commodores' possession. Vanderbilt held for the last shot of the half but a pass attempt went awry. Doherty caused a turnover to get the ball back but Vanderbilt couldn't get a shot off before time expired. Penn also won the draw in the second half of overtime and held for the last shot. Bensen's shot with 10 seconds left went off the post but she picked up her own rebound, slipped behind the cage and fired a shot between the legs of goal keeper Maddie Kratz with four seconds left.
Kratz, a senior making her second straight start, kept the game close all day, especially in the first half when she made eight of her 10 saves.
"Maddie had a great day," Swezey said. "Maddie was seeing the ball so well in the first half. Conditions did become a factor for her in the second half but she had a big day. We challenged her to have that kind of day and she did."
Along with Kratz, Swezey heaped praise for Doherty, who filled the stat sheet and bothered the Quakers all game. In addition to four goals and an assist, the sophomore attacker led the team with four ground balls and three caused turnovers.
"She had an exceptional day," Swezey said. "She is beating herself up for two small things at the end of the game, but we wouldn't have been in the position we were if it weren't for the day she had. Jill had a big game and she plays so hungry and with so much desire. Nevermind the fact she is a real serious talent. She was great."
Schonk added three goals and an assist. She now has 26 points this season and entered the game as Division I's leader in points.Chandlerand Kunowsky each scored twice and Lockwood dished out an assist. Chandler, who also had an assist, had two draw controls to push her career total to 100. The junior ranks sixth on the program's all-time list.
The Commodores, whose flight back on Sunday night had been cancelled due to the snow and ice, will head back to Nashville as campus sits quiet during spring break and prepare for another ranked foe. Vanderbilt hosts No. 15 Stanford at 1 p.m. on March 8. It will be the third of seven straight games against ranked opponents for VU. It will also mark the return of former All-Region and All-American Lacrosse Conference defender Alyssa Dunlap, who graduatedfrom Vanderbilt last May and is now a volunteer assistant coach for Stanford.
"We don't catch a break in March," Swezey said. "We can talk about one game at a time as we always do, but the fact of the matter is we don't have any easy opponents. Our kids, they are doing a lot of things right. Bu they have to, and we have to as a program, figure out how to come out on top. Stanford is going to come in hungry. We beat them in overtime last year. They are going to have a bit of an edge to them and we can't let that be a factor."