Lacrosse tops Cincinnati with stellar defense

April 4, 2018

Box Score

NASHVILLE–Vanderbilt lacrosse improved to 3-1 in BIG EAST play, matching last season’s conference win total with a 17-6 home win over Cincinnati on Wednesday.

The Commodores (8-4, 3-1 BIG EAST) were led by their defense against the Bearcats (6-5, 0-4 BIG EAST), causing 20 turnovers for the first time this year and matching their season-low for goals against. Six goals also marked Cincinnati’s lowest scoring output this year, and was just the Bearcats’ third game being held to fewer than 10 goals this season.

“I think they did everything well,” Vanderbilt head coach Cathy Swezey said. “Our defense has been preparing hard for every one of their opponents. Our girls are, individually, taking their matchups very seriously and really studying them on film, and you can see it. They’re taking away their opponents’ number one moves and I just couldn’t be happier.”

Vanderbilt’s starting back line of Alex Rasmussen, Mary Claire Dachille, Margaret Fee and Frankie Angeleri combined to cause six turnovers and collect 10 ground balls. Led by that quartet of upperclassmen, the Commodores won the ground ball battle in a game featuring the nation’s top two ranked teams in ground balls per game, 30-25.

Defensive midfielder Melissa Hawkins led the team with four caused turnovers and added three ground balls and an assist in transition.

Offensively, senior forward Kayla Peterson led Vanderbilt with five goals, bringing her career total to 98 goals in a Commodore uniform. Peterson’s first two scores capped an 8-0 Vanderbilt run in the first half, putting VU ahead 8-2 after Cincinnati grabbed the game’s first two goals.

“When our attack did start pushing the ball and getting that fast movement, I thought we were hard to stop,” Swezey said. “I thought our speed really made the difference, and that allowed us to get ahead quickly.”

Sophomore midfielder Gwyn Devin followed up her six-point performance in Saturday’s win over Villanova with three goals and an assist. Devin has now scored more points in the past two games than in her first 24 collegiate games combined.

“I am so proud of her,” Swezey said. “She’s really learned a lot about how to get to the cage and get the right shots. She’s really elevated her play and we’re really pleased with her. It’s cool to see her play with so much confidence.”

The Dores are now tied with Georgetown for third place in the BIG EAST Conference, and they get a crack at one of the two teams tied for first place on Sunday. Vanderbilt will hit the road, looking to hand Marquette its first conference loss of the season.

“It’s going to be a big game,” Swezey said. “I think our kids are tough and I think they’re ready to go for a huge opponent.”

Opening draw between the Commodores and Golden Eagles is at noon Sunday from Milwaukee. Vanderbilt returns home for Senior Day against Georgetown on Saturday, April 14 at 1 p.m. at the Vanderbilt Soccer/Lacrosse Complex. Admission is free, with senior day ceremonies beginning at approximately 12:40.