Feb. 28, 2014
The Vanderbilt lacrosse team hopes to reverse its luck when it hits the road for spring break.
The Commodores' only two losses this season have been to ranked foes. Their next two games? Both against ranked opponents.
Vanderbilt hopes to snap that streak when it heads out west to play No. 13 Stanford and No. 18 Denver. The Commodores, who began spring break Friday, will play the Cardinal at 2 p.m. (CST) on Sunday and then head to the Mile High City to play Denver at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Vanderbilt (2-2) hasn't played since a 22-8 loss to No. 1 North Carolina on Feb. 22. The Commodores drew some positives from the loss. Twice in the first half they pulled within a goal of the defending national champ, including nearly erasing a five-goal deficit to cut the lead to 5-4. They also won seven of their first 11 draw controls.
The Tar Heels, however, pulled away with four goals in the final minute of the first half. Coach Cathy Swezey came away proud of her team, which was without three players and two starters due to injury.
Stanford is off to a 2-0 start under sixth-year coach Amy Bokker after winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) tournament championship and reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. They return 19 lettermen and are led by Meg Lentz and Rachel Ozer, who have scored five goals apiece.
Vanderbilt is 6-5 all-time in the series, having won two of three. But Stanford picked up a 15-4 win in Nashville last year.
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP FOR SCHONK
Sophomore attacker Mallory Schonk has backed up her superb freshman season with a hot start in 2014. Schonk, a native of Perry Hall, Md., leads the team with 10 goals, nine assists and 19 points. She has scored in every game, including tying a career-high with four goals against then-No. 13 UMass on Feb. 9. In the season opener, she set a personal-best with five assists at Kennesaw State. She was named the American Lacrosse Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Feb. 11.
As a freshman, she started all 17 games and scored 25 goals and had 10 assists for 35 points, which were the second-most on the team.
KUNOWSKY ON A ROLL
Fellow sophomore Alexa Kunowsky has added an offensive punch from the midfield position. In the past two games, she has scored six goals. She led the Commodores with four goals in a win against Liberty. She also helped VU battle back against No. 1 North Carolina with a pair of goals. The Severna Park, Md., native is tied with senior captain Abby Wheeler for second on the team in goals (seven) and points (nine).
DAGRES PROVIDES SPARK
In her first start of the season, Emma Dagres boosted a deplete Commodore offense with two goals against No. 1 North Carolina. The sophomore from Weston, Mass., has played in all four games but is recovering from an injury.
She had her best game of the season against the Tar Heels. Her speed was apparent as she darted past the UNC defense for her first goal, which pulled VU within one goal. She later scored on a high shot after a pass from Mallory Schonk. For the season, she has three goals and one assist.
TROUBLES AGAINST THE RANKED
Vanderbilt has lost 15 straight to ranked teams. The Commodores last beat a ranked foe on April 1, 2012 with a 14-11 win over Johns Hopkins.