Fornia Named Preseason AAC Attack Player of the Year

Four Commodores earn preseason all-conference honors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fifth-year senior Gabby Fornia was named preseason Attack Player of the Year by the American Athletic Conference Tuesday. Fornia and three other Commodores earned spots on the preseason all-conference list.

Senior midfielder Bri Gross, fifth-year senior defender Melissa Hawkins and senior attacker Maddie Souza join Fornia on the preseason All-AAC team.

Fornia, who earned All-AAC honors in 2021, set the program record for career assists and finished the regular season ranked second nationally with 55 assists. She was named to the 2021 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-West/Midwest Region second team, 2021 Inside Lacrosse Midseason All-America honorable mention, and was selected as the 2021 Vanderbilt Female Player of the Year.

Gross earned preseason All-America honors from ILWomen in January and was named the ILWomen preseason AAC Offensive Player of the Year. Gross scored 31 goals in 2021, tied for most on the team. She also led Vanderbilt with 84 draw controls as a junior last season.

Hawkins was first team All-AAC in 2021 and second team All-AAC in 2019. She paced the Commodores with 43 ground balls and 30 caused turnovers. Hawkins won Vanderbilt University’s James A. Robins award – given to a student-athlete who exemplifies selfless devotion to learning, to honor, to participate in sports and service to youth and Vanderbilt.

Souza earned second team All-AAC honors as a junior in 2021. Her 31 goals matched Gross’ for most on the squad. She added 11 assists for a total of 42 points. Souza was twice named AAC Freshman of the Week in 2019.

Vanderbilt received 19 points in the AAC preseason coaches’ poll to tie for second with Temple. Florida took the top spot in the poll.

Vanderbilt starts the season at home Feb. 12 vs. Liberty.