March 23, 2014
Once again, a sizeable hole was too much for the Vanderbilt lacrosse team to overcome.
For the second straight game, the Commodores clawed back from a large deficit – but, unfortunately, they were saddled with the same result. Vanderbilt trailed by five goals in the second half but couldn’t complete the improbable comeback, losing to No. 12 Penn 11-10.
On Wednesday, the Commodores trailed by three goals and forced overtime but ultimately lost 18-14 to Louisville. Vanderbilt (3-6) has now dropped four straight after winning three of its opening five.
“It’s debilitating, honestly, to continue to put ourselves in the position where we have to come back,” coach Cathy Swezey said. “Coming up short it is so mentally and emotionally exhausting.”
Freshman Jill Doherty scored twice within 23 seconds to pull the Commodores within one with 2:31 remaining. But Penn’s Brooke Kiley won the ensuing draw control. Despite a might effort by Vanderbilt, the Quakers held onto possession and ran out the clock.
“We put up a good fight in the end but it is definitely disappointing,” Doherty said. “We have so much fight and we sparked it late in the game with those couple goals. Definitely looking to keep that fire that we have consistent for the next couple games.”
Vanderbilt trailed 4-1 in the first half but goals from Amanda Lockwood, Emma Dagres and Kelly Chandler tied it by halftime. But the Commodores couldn’t build on the momentum.
Out of the intermission, Penn (5-2) scored three goals in the first four minutes to take a 7-4 lead. After a Vanderbilt goal by Abby Wheeler on a free position shot, Penn scored three more times, to take a 10-5 lead with 18:03 left.
Rallying from a five-goal deficit was daunting but not unheard of for the Commodores, who came back and won in overtime against Stanford after trailing by five goals in the second half on March 2.
With two yellow cards by Penn just 13 seconds apart, Vanderbilt took advantage of the two-man advantage.
Wheeler, a senior captain, started the rally by scoring on another free position shot. Fifteen seconds later, Emma Dagres darted into Penn territory and fired in goal after an assist from Jill Doherty with 11:12 left. Nearly five minutes later, Mallory Schonk found Chandler to cut the lead to 10-8.
But Penn momentarily halted the rally with a huge insurance goal by Courtney Tomchik with 5:15 left. Still, after a timeout by Swezey, the Commodores again showed their resiliency.
Doherty lit a fire by winning the next two draw controls. She scored her eighth and ninth goals of the season – most by a VU freshman this season – at a huge moment. She capitalized on an assist from Wheeler and then got to the net again, firing a shot past goalie Lucy Ferguson.
“We knew we had to go hard and take our shots,” Doherty said. “The goalie was great today so we knew we had to move her. But I think it was taking chances.”
The Quakers, however, played keep away the rest of the game to improve to 2-0 all-time against Vanderbilt.
“I think in the second half when we came back we were playing really well with a lot more speed than we did in the first half, which made us a lot more of a threat,” Wheeler said. “Unfortunately we didn’t have that for 60 minutes. I think that’s why we came up short.”
Chandler upped her team-leading season total to 21 goals with a hat trick. In her past three games, the sophomore midfielder has 12 goals. Wheeler scored twice and had an assist. She now has 20 goals. Dagres and Doherty scored twice and Lockwood added a goal.
Goalkeeper Maddie Kratz allowed seven goals before being replace by freshman Callahan Kent, who gave up four goals in her third appearance of the season. Ferguson made 11 saves for the Quakers and proved to be the difference maker. Vanderbilt won draw controls (14-13), ground balls (18-16) and had more shots (27-13).
Joining the team on the bench was 14-year-old Bishop Mikaelian, who has brain cancer. Bishop was joined by her mother, Allison Bezou, and her brother, Warrick. Bishop sat on the bench during the game for Vanderbilt’s Friends of Jaclyn Day. The Commodores wore FOJ T-shirts in pregame warmups and raised $330 for the foundation, which pairs sports team with children and their families who are fighting pediatric cancer.
The Commodores wrap up a four-game homestand at noon on Saturday against No. 11 Johns Hopkins.