March 5, 2014
DENVER – Clinging to a one-goal lead late in the second half, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team looked poised to win another tough contest on the road.
But the Commodores couldn’t escape the Mile High City with a win.
Denver scored the final three goals to hand Vanderbilt a 10-8 loss on Wednesday.
The Commodores (3-3) overcame a three-goal deficit early and trailed 7-5 early in the second half before scoring three straight goals. Vanderbilt took an 8-7 lead after Amanda Lockwood scored and freshman Jill Doherty netted back-to-back goals with 18:47 to go.
But despite a man advantage and holding onto possession for several minutes, the Commodores couldn’t capitalize. Denver (3-1) scored three goals in less than four minutes and held on for the win.
“It was a tough game,” coach Cathy Swezey said. “I’m disappointed we allowed ourselves to get rattled. We didn’t play our game.”
Vanderbilt fell behind 3-0 early but responded with goals by Emma Dagres and Mallory Schonk within 14 seconds of each other. Denver stretched the lead with two more goals.
Then the Commodores received a huge boost from an unlikely scorer.
Senior defender Brandi Byner picked up a ground ball and drew a foul. At the whistle of the restart, she raced 80 yards down the field, past the Pioneer defense and slung in her first career goal to cut the lead to 5-3 with 1:13 left in the half. Byner, a captain better known for her 1 v. 1 defense, ignited the Commodores as the team erupted with excitement. “That was awesome,” Swezey said. “That was a huge momentum swing.”
Alexa Kunowsky added to the momentum when she scored with one second left in the half, marking the second time in as many games the Commodores have scored a goal in the last five seconds of the first half. Schonk scored her 12th goal of the season 64 seconds into the second half to tie the game at 5.
Six Vanderbilt players scored and Schonk scored multiple goals for the fourth time this season. Lockwood had the team’s only assist as Vanderbilt scored three free position goals. In goal, Maddie Kratz made five saves.
The Commodores have 10 days before their next game. They return to Nashville to host No. 9 Penn State on March 15 at the VU Lacrosse Complex.