March 19, 2014
Kelly Chandler continued her scoring surge, Abby Wheeler came up with another clutch goal and the Vanderbilt lacrosse team once again showed its resilience.
But this time the Commodores couldn’t pull out the win in overtime. Louisville scored four times in the extra period to hand Vanderbilt an 18-14 loss on Wednesday at the VU Lacrosse Complex.
Chandler scored a career-high five goals and Wheeler added four, including the game-tying goal with 23 seconds left in regulation after an assist from Mallory Schonk. Louisville, however, converted the opening two draw into goals a minute into overtime and scored four times in the bonus six minutes.
Vanderbilt (3-5) dropped its third straight but kept battling despite falling behind by three goals in the second half. Coach Cathy Swezey felt disappointment for her team, which put together a better performance after struggling in a 14-8 loss to No. 11 Penn State on Sunday.
“It is so hard to come from a game like Penn State,” she said, “and into a game like Louisville where my team had a completely different performance and showed us a completely different side of themselves and they still didn’t come out on top. I so badly want them to be rewarded for their hard work and now we got to ask them to come back and keep chipping away. I think they will but I really want them to be rewarded for their efforts. This is a tough loss.”
Louisville (6-3) won its second straight against Vanderbilt in a seesaw affair. There were four lead changes and nine ties.
The Commodores took a 6-4 lead in the first half thanks to two goals within two minutes by freshman Caroline Peters and Abby Wheeler. But Louisville responded with five straight goals to take a 9-6 lead with 10:10 left in the first half.
Vanderbilt didn’t buckle, getting late goals from Peters and Chandler. The latter came with 25 seconds left after Peters fed Chandler to trim the halftime deficit to 10-9.
Amanda Lockwood tied it up at 11 with 20:30 when she fired a laser into the net after an assist from Schonk, who had three assists. After Louisville’s Faye Brust scored her fourth of five goals, the Commodores hopped back in front. Chandler scored unassisted. Ten seconds later, Jill Doherty received a pass from Wheeler and wristed a shot around goalie Ashley Herbst for a 13-12 lead with 10:23 left.
Louisville answered with two goals 35 seconds apart for a 14-13 lead with 7:35. The Cardinals tried several times to run out the clock but Vanderbilt’s defense forced a bad shot and regained possession with a minute remaining.
Swezey called a timeout and the Commodores set up the game-tying play.
Vanderbilt went the length of the field, getting Wheeler in position with 35 seconds left. With Schonk holding onto the ball behind the cage, she tossed a pass to Wheeler. The senior captain got her stick on the ball and flicked a shot toward the net. It bounced off Herbst and slowly trickled toward the goal, finally crossing the line for a 14-14 tie with 23 seconds to go.
Swezey lauded her team’s responsiveness in pressure situations. She said the execution of the play was similar to two weeks ago against No. 13 Stanford when Wheeler scored twice in the final 34 seconds of overtime to lead Vanderbilt to victory.
“Abby she always seem to come through in those clutch moments,” Schonk said. “It seemed to trickle in and we were all standing there, waving it into the goal. I’m really proud of Abby. She has been doing so well and seems to come through for us in huge moments.”
Chandler finished with a team-high six points, finishing with five goals and one assist. In the past two games, the sophomore has scored nine goals to double her season total and tie Wheeler for the team high with 18.
“She was ridiculous today. She was unbelievable,” Swezey said. “Everybody played at a really high level and Kelly took it one step further.”
Wheeler scored four goals – her most since a career high seven at Stanford – and added an assist. Peters tied a career high with two goals and fellow freshman Doherty also scored twice.
Louisville’s Nikki Boltja, who entered the game ranked fourth in the country in scoring, netted six goals to up her season total to 37. Brust and Cortnee Daley each scored five times. Kaylin Morissette had a game-high 10 draw controls, including two to open overtime and set the tone.
The Commodores hope to bounce back when they host Penn at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
“This game we really wanted to focus on playing the full 60 minutes – I think we did a really good job of that,” Schonk said. “Obviously, we’re upset with the result. But I think we made big strides today by being able to come out and give it a full game.”