May 1, 2014
Before the postseason begins, two Vanderbilt standouts have been recognized for their work in the regular season.
Vanderbilt seniors Alyssa Dunlap and Abby Wheeler both earned all-conference honors when the American Lacrosse Conference announced its postseason awards on Thursday. Dunlap was named All-ALC First Team and Wheeler was named All-ALC Second Team.
Dunlap is the 16th Commodore to earn ALC First Team honors. VU has placed at least one player on the first team all 13 years of the league’s existence.
The two-year captain from Villanova, Pa., added to a superb collegiate career with an outstanding senior season. Heading into Thursday’s opening round matchup against Northwestern in the ALC Tournament, the stingy defender ranked second on the team with 30 draw con¬trols. She consistently fills up the stat sheet as she also has 27 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers.
She has developed a reputation as a shut-down defender, often tasked with guarding the opposing team’s top players. She stifled the nation’s leading scorer, and ALC Midfielder of the Year, Florida’s Shannon Gilroy, on April 13. Gilroy scored two goals – her second-fewest of the season. But only one came against Dunlap – the other was on a free position shot – as she smothered Gilroy the entire game.
Dunlap, who has started all 64 games of her career, is also moving up the VU career charts. With 27 ground balls this year she now has 116 in her career to tie Michelle Allen for seventh-most. Dunlap also has 65 draw controls, which is eighth-most at VU.
Wheeler, a senior captain from Charlottesville, Va., entered the year’s as the team’s top returning scorer and as a preseason ALC player to watch.
She picked up right where she left off.
The attacker has scored a career-high 38 goals this season to lead the team and rank sixth in the conference. She has also dished out seven assists.
She has scored four goals or more five times this season. She notched a career-high seven goals, including two in the final 35 seconds of overtime, in a come-from-behind win against then-No. 13 Stanford on March 2. She was named the ALC Offensive Player of the Week the following week. The seven goals were the most for VU this season and second-most in program history.