Jan. 23, 2013
Preview: Part II
Part I: We will preview the 2013 lacrosse team over the next three days in preparation for the beginning of the season on Sunday, Feb. 3, when the Commodores travel to face Jacksonville. We'll start our preview in the attacking third of the field.
Offensively, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team returns only one of its top seven scorers from last season: senior Carly Linthicum, who scored 17 goals and ranked second on the team with 10 assists. But the attack will get a big boost from the return of Courtney Kirk, a senior who redshirted last season after leading the Commodores in scoring as a junior in 2011.
"We're really excited to have Courtney Kirk back, but I also have to say that Carly Linthicum is playing better than she ever has," VU Head Coach Cathy Swezey said. "She is completely on top of her game and she's playing like a senior. I think there's going to be a lot of attention put on her this year."
While Linthicum and Kirk are the only two attackers with extensive starting experience, Swezey is excited to see who steps up to supplement their offensive production.
"It is going to be a real competition," Swezey said. "While Carly and Courtney certainly solidified their positions in the fall, they have to spend this preseason keeping those spots and making sure no one beats them out.
"Certainly we have some older player that can fills those spots, like Olivia Goodman, who had a good performance in the ALC [Tournament] against Ohio State. We have some younger kids who have shown up and really impressed us. Abby Wheeler is certainly on top of her game and really quick and hard to play. I think a lot of kids are really working hard to earn themselves some time.
Goodman stepped up in the postseason to score two goals and add an assist against the Buckeyes in Gainesville, Fla. Wheeler made six starts a season ago, scoring 13 goals to rank seventh on the team. Swezey also looks for more production from junior Sarah Tustin, and highlighted Mackenzie Smith as a freshman to watch on attack. Alexa Kunowsky and Mallory Schonk, who both came in as midfielders, are expected to see some minutes on attack.
In total, Vanderbilt returns only 44 of the 179 goals scored last season, but Swezey does not see that as a reason to be concerned. She expects the line attack to score a larger percentage of the team's goals this year after the squad relied heavily on its senior-laden midfield last season.