April 5, 2014
Senior Day has come early for the Vanderbilt lacrosse team’s five seniors.
And they hope Sunday’s game will provide a springboard for the last month of the regular season.
Vanderbilt hosts No. 17 Ohio State at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the VU Lacrosse Complex. Though the Commodores have one more home game on Wednesday, April 16, this will be their last home game over the weekend. Therefore, at 12:40 p.m., the team will recognize seniors Brandi Byner, Alyssa Dunlap, Chelsea Lanzoni, Sarah Tustin and Abby Wheeler.
“I really appreciate the leadership they’ve offered this year, their experience and the way they’ve tried to guide the team through this season,” coach Cathy Swezey said. “I’m hoping for them that we can make big things happen the next few weeks. I think they deserve it. They’ve worked extremely hard this year and I loved to see that happen.”
Five regular-games remain for Vanderbilt, which has lost five of six. The next three are against ranked opponents and conference foes – No. 17 OSU, at No. 7 Northwestern and at No. 4 Florida – over the next eight days.
Vanderbilt (4-7, 1-1 American Lacrosse Conference) is coming off a 12-8 loss at Harvard on Wednesday. Wheeler scored five goals for the second time this season – she had a career-high seven against Stanford on March 2 – to move past sophomore Kelly Chandler (25) for a team-high 27 goals this season.
But a 6-0 hole to start the game was too much to overcome. It was a tough loss for the Commodores, who were coming off an upset of No. 9 and previously undefeated John Hopkins just three days before.
Ohio State (9-4, 2-1) rides a three-game winning streak and has won seven of eight.
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 13-6. But the current roster is winless against Ohio State. The Buckeyes have five straight, with Vanderbilt’s last win coming in 2010.
At least three players have scored 20 goals for Ohio State. But the Buckeyes’ top scoring threat is Katie Chase. The senior attacker has 37 goals, second in the conference to only Florida’s Shannon Gilroy (64). Jackie Cifarelli leads OSU and the country with 34 assists.
“We are always pretty much ready to go into a conference matchup,” Swezey said. “Ironically, we tend to come off losses really strong. I think we’re really focused. I think we had a good practice (on Friday). We covered a lot of tactical things. I think we will be ready to go.”