PRINCETON, N.J. -- The ninth-ranked Vanderbilt women's lacrosse team fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 14-10, at eighth-ranked Princeton on Sunday at Class of 1952 Stadium.
A pair of Moorestown, N.J. natives, senior Margie Curran and junior Cara Giordano, led the Commodores in scoring. Curran had a team-high five points on two goals and three assists, while Giordano scored a game-high four goals. Princeton's Ashley Amo led all scorers with three goals and three assists.
The eight-versus-nine matchup lived up to its billing throughout, featuring four lead changes and seven ties. Leading by only one goal with eight minutes remaining, the Tigers scored four straight to punch their ticket to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Princeton scored the first goal of the game. Vanderbilt goalkeeper Brooke Shinaberry saved a free position shot, but the rebound bounced right back to Princeton's Lizzie Drumm who connected on the second chance. Vanderbilt would tie the game minutes later. Senior Leslie Koch blocked a Tiger shot, and Curran found sophomore Carter Foote open in front of the Princeton net.
After a pair of Tiger goals, Vanderbilt answered with goals from sophomore Sarah Downing and freshman Katherine Denkler. Princeton's Christine Casaceli and VU's Curran traded free position goals before the Commodores took their first lead, 5-4, on Giordano's first goal of the game. The Tigers would take back the lead as Amo assisted on a Sarah Steele goal before scoring one of her own, but Giordano knotted the game up at 6-6 with six seconds remaining in the half off a feed from Curran.
Giordano opened the second half with a free position goal to give the Commodores a 7-6 advantage. Goals by Amo and Kristin Schwab gave Princeton the lead for three minutes, until Curran answered with an unassisted goal of her own. The Tigers would score six of the next seven goals to take control of the match late as Vanderbilt was forced to play a more aggressive defense to regain possession.
Shinaberry made five saves for the Commodores, who were outshot on the day, 31-17. Princeton's Erin Tochihara made four saves.
Defensively, senior Michele Slotke had two caused turnovers and four ground balls for the VU defense. Shinaberry also helped own cause by making a pair of interceptions out of the cage. Vanderbilt held a 14-12 advantage in draw controls, led by six from Curran and four from Giordano.
The Commodores (13-6) end their 2008 campaign with a school record 13 victories. Seven Commodore starters participated in Commencement exercises on Friday morning before flying up to meet the team in New Jersey.
The Tigers (13-4) will travel to face top-seeded Northwestern on Saturday, May 17. The Wildcats broke a 5-5 haltime tie to defeat Notre Dame, 15-7, Sunday in Evanston, Ill. Other winners in first-round action included Penn, Maryland, Boston University, North Carolina and Duke.