Lacrosse preview: Defense
Jan. 24, 2013
Preview: Part I
Part II: Today we continue our 2013 preview by taking a look at the defensive third of the field for the Commodores.
The defensive unit is by far the most experienced group for the 2013 Vanderbilt lacrosse team. The defensive side of the ball also produced all three of Vanderbilt's team captains this season.
"They are both just so committed and so dedicated to our success," Swezey said. "They just both work really, really hard. Any coach knows that its gonna take a lot of mental toughness to succeed, and they both epitomize that character trait. They are going to lead us with toughness. Even on their off days, I think they'll be able to see outside themselves to push the rest of the team and make them be the best they can be."
Byner and Dunlap have combined for 59 career starts in two seasons. Byner earned IWLCA All-West/Midwest Region second-team recognition following her freshmen season. Dunlap is VU's active career leader in both ground balls and caused turnovers.
Swezey has another two-year starter on her line defense in senior Paige Cahill. Last season, Cahill was a All-West/Midwest Region first-team honoree. According to the head coach, the fourth spot on the line defense is up for grabs.
"It's gonna be a battle," Swezey said. "You have Gabby [Nesi], you have Maggie [Forker], and we also have a freshman in Sarah Wilcox. And then there are middies that might be moving back and looking to fight for that spot.
"Some kids have come back having worked really hard over the winter break and are in great shape so there may be some surprise names back there. That spot is literally open for competition. It's gonna be exciting to watch over the next couple of weeks."
VU's third captain this season is senior goalkeeper Chelsea Pasfield. Pasfield has started nine games in her Commodore career, but enters her final year in black and gold as the team's No. 1 goalkeeper.
"Chelsea is a pleasure to coach because she's one of the most level-headed goalies I've ever been around," Swezey said. "She doesn't get overly emotional, doesn't get down on herself when she's scored on. She's so solid and confident that I think she's going to be a really capable leader for us.
Backing up Pasfield will be sophomore Maddie Kratz, who saw action in only one game as a freshman.
"Chelsea was sick for a run-through recently and Maddie had to take all the shots in practice, and she was phenomenal," Swezey said. "While they get along very well, they're ready to push and compete as well. I think it's a good combination. If anything were to happen to Chelsea, or if she were having an off day, I know Maddie could step up."
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