NASHVILLE - Twelve saves by Natalie Wills, a hat-trick from Kendall Pittinger and a seven draw control, four caused turnover performance from Ally Carey highlighted No. 19 Vanderbilt's 14-9 victory over Jacksonville on Senior Day at the VU Lacrosse Complex.
On a day in which the Vanderbilt lacrosse program celebrated its nine graduating seniors during a pre-game ceremony, the squad's upperclassmen repaid the fans with an impressive performance. Nine of Vanderbilt's 14 goals were scored by seniors, including three by Pittinger and two each from Carey and Kacie Connors. Classmates Hannah Clark and Alex Priddy also tallied goals, with Kelly Connors notching an assist.
Taylor Lange and Catherine Carr each came up with draw controls from their defensive positions in front of Wills, who stopped a season-high 12 shots for her seventh win of the year.
"We are happy that our senior class got to win their last home game," VU Head Coach Cathy Swezey said. "They all contributed today and have left a mark on our program that will last long beyond their departure."
Vanderbilt (8-7) scored five of the game's first six goals to take an early lead in the contest, and held a 6-3 advantage at halftime. The game's first 30 minutes saw a combined seven yellow cards between the two teams, with each squad scoring twice during man-advantage situations.
Jacksonville (11-4) opened the second half with consecutive goals to trim VU's lead to one at 6-5, but the Commodores awoke to score five straight over the next four minutes. Freshman Meggie Ramzy assisted Pittinger and then scored a goal of her own just 17 seconds later. Free position shots by Kacie Connors and sophomore Alyssa Dunlap--who scored just the second goal of her VU career--elevated VU's lead to 10-5. Just twenty-six seconds later, Carey found junior Carly Linthicum for one of her three goals on the day to give Vanderbilt a six-goal advantage with under 19 minutes to play.
Jacksonville would stop VU's streak at five goals with a score, but the Dolphins could get no closer than four goals for the remainder of the game. JU's Brittney Orashen had a team-high four points on two goals and two assists.
Dolphins goalkeeper Karli Tobin was impressive in the cage, making 17 saves against Commodore attackers. On two occasions, however, her out of the cage looking for an interception and capitalized. Kacie Connors connecting on a low-angle shot that deflected in off Tobin's stick in the first half and Linthicum capped off her hat-trick in the second half off an assist from Priddy.
With the victory, Vanderbilt moves to 5-0 in non-conference home games this season and 2-0 all-time against Jacksonville. Carey's two goals move the two-time first-team All-American into sixth on Vanderbilt's career scoring chart. Carey also is VU's career leader in ground balls and draw controls.
The Commodores will have the next week off from games as the university enters its final examination period. Vanderbilt will next travel to Gainesville, Fla., for the 2012 American Lacrosse Conference Tournament, hosted by the University of Florida. The tournament quarterfinal games will be played on Thursday, May 3.