Swezey Interview | Kratz Interview | Dagres Interview
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With the torrid month of March in the past, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team wanted a fresh start.
With their first game in April, the Commodores got exactly what they hoped for -- a win. With a superb performance on both sides of the field, Vanderbilt cruised to a 14-8 victory over Temple on Saturday at the VU Lacrosse Complex for its first BIG EAST win in its first year in the league.
Three players collected hat tricks as the offense scored its most goals in six weeks. The defense harassed the Owls all game and help their top scorer in check. Goalkeeper Maddie Kratz put forth another stellar effort. All this added up to Vanderbilt's first win since Feb. 20, snapping an eight-game losing streak. The Commodores (4-8, 1-2 BIG EAST) never trailed in picking up their first victory over Temple (8-3, 0-2) in the teams' first meeting since 1996.
"We joked after the game that we're never going to play in March again," coach Cathy Swezey said. "We're really happy with what happened today, and just how the kids stepped up. They really paid attention to what our game plan was and executed it really well. We couldn't be more pleased. It was awesome."
Sophomore Caroline Peters led the offensive attack with three goals and two assists, tying career highs in both categories. Mallory Schonk and Jill Doherty also scored three apiece. Amanda Lockwood came off the bench to add two goals and an assist. Alexa Kunowsky and Meggie Ramzy also scored.
Emma Dagres had one of the better all-around games of her career as she chipped in a goal, two assists and won a career-high four draw controls. She was also charged with guarding Temple's Nicole Tiernan, who entered the game ranked fourth in the BIG EAST with 26 goals. Dagres disrupted Tiernan as she scored just twice on nine shots, and both came in the last 15 minutes of the game.
After a long scoring drought from both teams to open the game, Peters put the Commodores in front 1-0 with 22:07 left. Temple tied it up 50 seconds later, but would never take the lead. Dagres pushed the Commodores back in front with a goal off a free position shot. Meggie Ramzy and Mallory Schonk followed with goals to push the lead to 4-1. But the Owls responded and pulled within two twice, including with 10 seconds left.
Then Dagres delivered one of the biggest plays of the game late in the first half. After Temple scored with 10 seconds before halftime to pull within 5-3, Dagres won the draw and drew a foul with seven seconds left. At the stoppage, Swezey, noticing Doherty was well down the field past the restraining line and three feet in front of her defender, told Dagres to take a risk. When the whistle blew, Dagres lobbed a pass 20 yards down the field. Doherty caught the ball on one bounce just inside the eight-meter mark, raced a couple steps, and then fired a shot low to the right of Temple goalkeeper Jaqi Kakalecik for goal with 2.6 seconds left. The score gave the Commodores' much-needed momentum and a 6-3 halftime lead.
"It was just a worthwhile risk," Swezey said. "I saw Jill downfield. I'm like, 'Emma, risk it.' Some times we might be careful in a situation like that. I'm real glad she took the risk. It was a fun goal. Obviously, a lot of excitement for the team, too."
Vanderbilt scored three times in the opening seven minutes of the second half to build a five-goal lead and never looked back. The defense stepped up to the challenge once again, allowing the second fewest goals of the season. Alex Duckenfield had a career day with a career-high five caused turnovers, while tying a personal-best with five ground balls. Fellow senior captain Maggie Forker added three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Kratz continued her tremendous stretch with 11 saves. The senior has 40 saves in her last four games.
The Commodores hit the road to play BIG EAST foe Cincinnati at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.