April 16, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Momentum switched sides rather quickly on Wednesday.
And Vanderbilt couldn’t fully recover after losing the lead in the first half.
The Commodores scored the final four goals but needed one more in an 11-10 loss to Jacksonville in the final home game of the season at the VU Lacrosse Complex.
Senior Abby Wheeler scored a game-high four goals, including the last three, but Vanderbilt couldn’t overcome a five-goal, second-half deficit. The Commodores led 6-3 with 5:26 in the first half. But Jacksonville scored five before halftime and seven unanswered to put Vanderbilt in a hole.
“When we were on the attacking end, I felt like we were having good momentum, especially in the first half,” sophomore Mallory Schonk said. “Then we weren’t just coming up with the draw controls. We were causing the ball to go down on defense. We just weren’t coming up with them. We weren’t taking care of it on the clears, either. So I think it was a little bit of complacency, not taking care of the ball well enough.”
Trailing 11-6 with 25:56 left, Vanderbilt slowly mounted a comeback. Freshman Sydney Trentzsch scored her fifth goal of the season with 22:49 left. Ten minutes later, Wheeler scored on a pass from freshman MacKenzie Lange.
Wheeler scored on an unassisted attempt minutes later. At the 4:39 mark, she pulled the Commodores within one on a free position goal for her team-leading 34th goal of the season.
But Vanderbilt (4-11) couldn’t pull even, suffering its fifth straight loss and ninth in 10 games. After freshman Jill Doherty caused a turnover late, the Commodores had two good looks. But Amanda Lockwood’s free position shot went wide and Alexa Kunowsky’s shot right near the goal was saved by Asia Moore, who had six of her nine saves in the second half.
For the last three minutes, Jacksonville held onto the ball. Senior defenders Alyssa Dunlap and Brandi Byner, in attempts to cause turnovers, were whistled for yellow cards. Thus, the Commodores were down two players for a majority of the final two minutes, which allowed Jacksonville (10-5) to run out the clock.
“Down the stretch (Moore) came up with the saves they needed,” Schonk said. “We just weren’t able to put in the back of the net. Credit to Jacksonville, they threw a different defense at us than we were expecting. I don’t think we did the best job dealing with it.”
Vanderbilt fell to 0-11 when failing to score first. But the momentum appeared to be on VU’s side in the early going. Doherty knotted the game up at 1-1. Then, after Jacksonville pulled ahead, Schonk scored two goals and assisted on another goal by Doherty.
The Commodores grabbed a 6-3 lead late in the second half when Wheeler scored on a free position shot. Twenty-one seconds later, Doherty tied her career high with her third goal of the game.
Jacksonville then began winning the draw controls, holding a 12-11 advantage in the game. Jess Worcester scored 46 seconds after Doherty to spark a spurt of seven straight goals that carried into the second half. Turnovers were costly as Vanderbilt committed 21, compared to Jacksonville's 14.
Along with Wheeler’s four goals and Doherty’s three, Schonk also had two goals and Trentzsch had one. Schonk, Dagres and Lange also had assists. Junior goalkeeper Maddie Kratz made 10 saves and has 46 saves in the last five games.
The Commodores wrap up their regular season at Michigan on Saturday in the final American Lacrosse Conference game as the league will dissolve after this season.