Lacrosse battles La Salle Thursday

March 7, 2018

The Game: Vanderbilt Lacrosse at La Salle

The Time: Thursday, March 8 at 5 p.m. CT

The Place: McCarthy Stadium, Philadelphia, Pa.

The Broadcast: No Live Broadcast. Follow @VanderbiltLax on Twitter for live updates

Vanderbilt lacrosse’s spring break trip to Philadelphia starts Thursday, when the Commodores (4-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) visit La Salle (2-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10) at 5 p.m. CT.

The Dores lead all of Division I lacrosse with 18.60 goals per game, 39.20 shots per game and 30.40 shots on goal per game. Vandy’s high-powered offense thrived again on Monday, as the team concluded a three-game homestand with an emphatic 19-6 win over William & Mary.

Midfielder Melanie Becker led the team with a career-high six points on five goals and an assist in the win, while attackers Emily Mathewson and Gabrielle Fornia each added five points.

“For a day where Kayla Peterson had fewer [opportunities], other kids stepped up,” Vanderbilt head coach Cathy Swezey said. “Seeing a midfielder like Melanie Becker come in and score five goals, that’s just huge output.”



VU outscored the opposition, 53-30, during the team’s three-game homestand, and now hits the road for the third time this season. The Commodores opened the season with road wins over Kennesaw State and Fresno State before coming home for their last three games.

The team will spend five full days in Philadelphia, facing the Explorers on Thursday night and St. Joseph’s on Sunday afternoon. 

Sophomore goalkeeper Madison Foglio is expected to make her third consecutive start for the Commodores. Foglio stopped nine of the 15 shots on goal she faced against William & Mary on Monday for her first win of the year.

“She’s just a great goalie,” Swezey said. “She’s a great stopper, she’s great at clearing, she’s very active out of the cage. She just sees the ball well. We had a good meeting with her a couple weeks ago and I think it just turned her up a notch. She’s performing really well.”

Opening draw between the Commodores and the Explorers is at 5 p.m. CT Thursday evening in Philadelphia, at McCarthy Stadium on La Salle’s campus. There will be no live broadcast of the game, but live updates will be provided on Twitter @VanderbiltLax.

Series History
This is the first-ever meeting in lacrosse between Vanderbilt and La Salle.

Mapping the Explorers
La Salle has won two straight games after starting 0-2, holding a 2-2 record through their first four non-conference games. The Explorers have back-to-back home wins over Central Michigan and Marist, along with a home loss to Fresno State and a defeat at Delaware. Brittany Edwards and Bridget Ruskey are tied for the team lead with 13 goals. Lynne Frankel has played goal in all four games, and was the winning goalie in both of the team’s wins.


Perfect Attendance
Vanderbilt has been represented on the BIG EAST Weekly Awards in all four editions of this season’s conference honors. Detailed recaps of each honoree’s performances can be found in the notes below.
Vanderbilt’s 2018 BIG EAST Weekly Award Winners:


Rewriting the Record Book
Senior attacker Kayla Peterson tied the Vanderbilt record for goals in a game on Tuesday, February 27, when she scored eight times in a 17-15 loss to Louisville, and was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Tuesday. Peterson matched Sue Napolitano's record, set on March 25, 1996, against Virginia Tech in Vanderbilt's first year of Division I lacrosse. Peterson was born 182 days later, on September 23, 1996. Peterson's performance is the first eight-goal game in Cathy Swezey's 21 years as Vanderbilt's head coach, dating back to the 1998 season.

Leading the Nation 
Vanderbilt's offense is first nationally with 18.60 goals per game. Vanderbilt also leads the NCAA with 39.20 shots per game and 30.40 shots per game. 
Kayla Peterson is second in Division I with 4.60 goals per game.

Beasts of the BIG EAST
Vanderbilt leads the BIG EAST Conference in seven major team categories, and also ranks top five nationally in those same seven statistics (NCAA rankings in parentheses):

  • Scoring Offense: 18.60 Goals per Game (first nationally)
  • Shots per Game: 39.20 (first nationally)
  • Shots on Goal per Game: 30.40 (first nationally)
  • Assists per Game: 8.20 (fourth nationally)
  • Scoring Margin: +7.40 Goals per Game (fourth nationally)
  • Caused Turnovers per Game: 13.40 (third nationally)
  • Ground Balls per Game: 27.00 (third nationally)

Blaze Earns Another BIG EAST Honor
Junior midfielder Julie Blaze was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for Week 3 of the 2018 season on February 27 after her five-point game against Furman on February 24. The award marks Blaze's second career appearance on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll and her third conference honor of the season. Blaze was named BIG EAST Midfielder of the Week for Week 1 on February 13 and was Vanderbilt's lone representative on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team, as named by the league's coaches in January. Vanderbilt has had a player named on all three editions of the BIG EAST Weekly Awards this season.

Back on the Ballot
Vanderbilt was one of eight teams receiving votes in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll that debuted on Monday, February 26 (Week 3). This is Vanderbilt's first inclusion in the poll since April 2012, when the Commodores were ranked 19th in the final week of the regular season.

Fornia Earns BIG EAST Freshman of the Week Honor 
Vanderbilt freshman attacker 
Gabrielle Fornia became the team's second player in as many weeks to be honored by the BIG EAST on February 20. Fornia was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week for Week 2 of the season after her two-goal, two-assist performance in the Dores' 22-12 win over Fresno State on February 19. Fornia's two goals were her first as a collegiate player. 

Mathewson's Career Day 
Sophomore attacker 
Emily Mathewson led the Commodore charge in Vandy's 22-12 win at Fresno State on February 19, scoring a career-high six goals in the win and surpassing her previous mark of five, set against Villanova on March 17, 2017. The sophomore led the way in a very on-target game for Vanderbilt's shooters, as 37 of the team's 39 shots were on goal.

Blaze Named BIG EAST Midfielder of the Week 
On February 13, junior midfielder 
Julie Blaze was named the BIG EAST Midfielder of the Week for her Week 1 performance. Blaze scored six points (four goals, two assists) in Vanderbilt's 18-14 win over Kennesaw State on Sunday, February 18. She filled up the stat sheet by claiming four draw controls and three ground balls in the tight road win. This was Blaze's first career Midfielder of the Week award, adding to her honors of 2018 Preseason All-BIG EAST, 2017 first-team All-BIG EAST and one BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll in Week 1 of the 2017 season. 

Preseason Pick 
The Big East coaches picked Vanderbilt to finish sixth in the conference's preseason poll, tied with Marquette for the sixth spot in the 10-team league. Midfielder 
Julie Blaze was named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST team. 
BIG EAST Women's Lacrosse Preseason Coaches' Poll: 
1. Florida (9 first place votes) 
2. Denver (1) 
3. Georgetown 
4. Temple 
5. Connecticut 
t-6. Vanderbilt 
t-6. Marquette 
8. Villanova 
9. Cincinnati 
10. Butler 

Vanderbilt Lacrosse Joining American Athletic Conference in 2019 
The Vanderbilt lacrosse program announced in October that it will join the American Athletic Conference as an affiliate member for the league's inaugural season of women's lacrosse in 2019. Current BIG EAST members Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida and Temple will make the move with Vanderbilt, joining East Carolina--currently a D-1 independent--to comprise the six-team league. 
Vanderbilt Lacrosse historic conference affiliation: 
2019-: American Athletic Conference 
2015-2018 (4 seasons): Big East Conference 
2002-2014 (13 seasons): American Lacrosse Conference (founding member) 
1996-2001 (6 seasons): No conference affiliation 

Cathy Swezey 
Head coach 
Cathy Swezey is in her 21st season leading the Commodores. Swezey was hired as Vanderbilt's second-ever women's lacrosse head coach before the 1998 season. Her overall record as Vanderbilt's head coach is 160-172, including six NCAA Tournament appearances and a national semifinals berth in 2004. 

Set the Field A-Blaze 
Julie Blaze led Vanderbilt with 33 goals as a sophomore in 2017, becoming the first sophomore to lead the Commodores in goals since April Tellam, who scored 42 goals in 1999. Blaze also finished the year second on the team in points (38), fourth in caused turnovers (12) and draw controls (22) and fifth in ground balls (18), earning first-team All-BIG EAST honors. 

Back in Black (And Gold) 
The 2018 Commodores return 65% of the team's goal scoring from last season, with just 62 out of 177 goals graduating from the program. 
2017 Vanderbilt Goal Leaders (BOLD = Returning) 
Julie Blaze, 33 goals 
Jill Doherty, 31 goals 
Kayla Peterson, 30 goals 
Emily Mathewson, 17 goals 
Caroline Peters, 16 goals 
Melanie Becker, 16 goals 
MacKenzie Lange, 13 goals 

New Faces In Goal 
Vanderbilt enters the 2018 season with a tandem of sophomore goalies. Redshirt sophomore 
Lily Argyle and true sophomore Madison Foglio with take over for graduated senior Callahan Kent. Both players saw their first collegiate action in 2017, with Argyle making three starts and seven appearances (1-1-0 record, 13.13 GAA, .395 save percentage) and Foglio making three starts and six appearances (1-2-0 record, 11.19 GAA, and .333 save percentage). The duo will combine to succeed three-year starter Callahan Kent, who posted a career record of 12-19-0 in 34 games during her Commodore career. 

Single Digits 
In 2017, the Dores were 5-0 when holding their opponent under 10 goals in a game and were just 1-9 when allowing 10 or more goals. Vanderbilt's lone win when allowing double digit goals was a 14-12 win at Villanova on March 18, 2017. Vanderbilt is 2-0 in 2018 when holding their opponent under 10, and 2-1 when allowing double digit goals.

The 90-Second Effect 
In the first season of play using the NCAA-mandated 90-second possession clock, Vanderbilt attempted 30.5 shots per game while holding opponents to just 27.4 shots per game. That total gave the Commodores their highest shots per game total since the 2010 season and marked the first time Vanderbilt outshot its opponents since 2013. 

Close Calls 
Vanderbilt lost all three one-goal games it played in 2017 and has lost six straight one-goal games dating back to the 2016 season. The Commodores' last one-goal win was against Elon on February 28, 2016. Vanderbilt has not played an overtime game since April 8, 2015, a 10-9 double overtime home loss against Connecticut. 



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