Feb. 20, 2014
The last time out, the Vanderbilt lacrosse team received a huge confidence boost with a win and an offensive explosion.
Their next time taking the field, the Commodores hope to pull off a huge upset.
Vanderbilt (2-1) starts a three-game road trip with a massive test against No. 1 North Carolina at 10 a.m. (CST) on Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Tar Heels (3-0) are the defending national champs and hold a 17-1 advantage against the Commodores all-time.
"I want to see our team compete," coach Cathy Swezey said. "I think we have the talent and ability to beat anyone. But our goal is to always just step on the field, win the moment and compete every second they can."
The Commodores are coming off a 20-8 victory over Liberty last Saturday. It was a much-needed win after scoring just six goals in a 13-6 loss to then-No. 13 Massachusetts the week before.
Against Liberty, nine VU players scored. Sophomore Alexa Kunowsky led the way with a season-high four goals. Jill Doherty, Mallory Schonk and Abby Wheeler each scored three times. For Doherty, she netted the first three goals of her career. The freshman also added two assists and was named the American Lacrosse Conference's Rookie of the Week.
"It is a comparison of two games, essentially," Swezey said. "I think UMass really shut down our offense and then to have a big offensive day against Liberty I think was critical just to get out attacks' confidence back on track and remind them what they're capable of."
Through three games, Schonk, from Perry Hall, Md., leads the team in goals (nine), assists (eight) and points (17). Making the sophomore's start even more impressive is that she has needed just 12 shots to score nine goals for a team-best shooting percentage of .750.
Sophomore Kelly Chandler from Salisbury, Md., ranks second with six goals. Doherty, a native of Reading, Mass., is second on the team with five assists and eight points.
As a team, the Commodores average 15.3 goals a game. They'll need to score to keep pace with UNC, which averages 20.6 goals and tied a school record with 24 in a 24-6 win over Canisius on Wednesday.
"I think we were a threat (offensively against Liberty) and we're going to have a lot of that look again on Saturday," Wheeler said. "They just have a lot of fast players, a lot of 1 v. 1 play. So it is really about our defenders being able to hold 1 v. 1 but also crash quickly when they are inside."