April 19, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - This season, opponents scoring first has been a bad omen for the Vanderbilt lacrosse team.
Not on Saturday.
The Commodores' surrendered the game's first goal but responded with eight straight goals to cruise to a 16-9 victory over Michigan at Michigan Stadium.
Senior Abby Wheeler scored four goals and Mallory Schonk added three as the Commodores snapped a five-game losing streak with a much-needed win in the regular-season finale.
Before Saturday, Vanderbilt was 0-11 this season when the opposing team scored first. But after Michigan's Anna Schueler scored 54 seconds into the game, Wheeler tied it up for the first of four Vanderbilt goals in a three-minute span.
The Commodores (5-11, 2-4 American Lacrosse Conference) never looked back in defeating Michigan (3-12, 0-6), which is in its first year as a program. The Wolverines turned the ball over 24 times and Vanderbilt caused 15 turnovers.
"It was a great defensive effort," coach Cathy Swezey said. "Just stripping the ball left and right. Maggie Forker had a ton of ground balls and really keeping her nose to the ground. The first-half effort defensively was really strong."
Vanderbilt caused outshot Michigan 33-19 and attempted 15 of the game's first 17 shots. The Commodores also spread the wealth around as eight players scored.
Wheeler scored four goals for the second straight game and now has a team-leading 38 goals. Schonk had three assists in addition to her hat trick and leads the team with 23 assists and 45 points.
"(Schonk) just has a good look at the eight (meters) and really knows how to find Abby Wheeler, which is a big deal," Swezey said. "They have a really good connection so, yeah, (Schonk) having a big day is always really helpful."
Amanda Lockwood, MacKenzie Lange and Sydney Trentzsch each scored twice. It was a career-high for Lange, a freshman who had just one goal prior to Saturday, and tied a personal-best for Trentzsch. Emma Dagres, Caroline Peters and Meggie Ramzy also scored.
Freshman Jill Doherty had another outstanding day with career-high-tying three assists, three caused turnovers, three ground balls and two draw controls. Junior defender Maggie Forker set multiple career-highs with five ground balls and two caused turnovers.
The Commodores now get nearly two weeks off before the ALC Tournament begins on May 1 at Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. Vanderbilt is currently the sixth seed in the seven-team tournament but could move up to the fifth slot if Johsn Hopkins loses to Ohio State on April 26. This will be the final ALC Tournament as the league is dissolving after this season.
"I hope it generates some confidence," Swezey said. "I'm not sure we actually put a 60-minute game together. That is an area we still need to improve on. More than anything, this 10 days is going to give us a chance to get some of our injured kids healthy and hoping to have a couple of them back for ALCs."