NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Seven Vanderbilt lacrosse student-athletes earned All-American Athletic Conference honors, it was announced Wednesday by the conference office. Gabby Fornia, Melissa Hawkins, Bri Gross and Cassidy Orban all received All-AAC First Team accolades, while Paige Gunning, Maddie Souza and Nicki Dadino secured All-ACC Second Team honors.
The seven all-conference honorees are tied with the 2004 and 2019 teams for most in program history.
The four first team all-conference selections also tied a Vanderbilt lacrosse record. The other season Vandy had four first team selections was 2008 when Sasha Cielak, Margie Curran, Cara Giordano and Brooke Shinaberry were named first team all-ALC.
Fornia, who leads the AAC and is second nationally with 50 assists, was a unanimous selection. The senior attacker from Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, holds the single-game, season and career assists records for Vandy. She has 19 goals to go along with her 50 assists in 2021. For her play this season, Fornia has earned Inside Lacrosse Mid-Season All-America Honorable Mention accolades, US Lacrosse Magazine Division I Player of the Week, AAC Attack Player of the Week twice and AAC Weekly Honor Roll four times. Fornia also earned All-AAC first team honors as a sophomore in 2019.
Another unanimous pick, Hawkins is a two-time AAC Defensive Player of the Week honoree in 2021. The defender ranks fourth in program history with 97 caused turnovers, including a team-high 26 this season. Hawkins also ranks second on the team with 37 ground balls. This is the second time Hawkins has secured All-AAC honors, as she also took home second team accolades as a sophomore in 2019.
Gross impacts the game in a number of different ways from her midfield position. The California native is third on the team in points with 39 (27 goals, 12 assists). She is the team leader with 75 draw controls in 2021 and is fourth in program history with 157 career draw controls. Her 25 ground balls this season are good for third on the team, while her 10 caused turnovers are fourth.
Orban scored the game-winning goal in overtime against No. 24 Colorado in the home opener and has been a key contributor throughout the season. The midfielder is second on the team with 45 draw controls to go with 18 ground balls. She has put up 21 goals and eight assists in 2021. The senior from Long Valley, New Jersey, has seven multi-goal games this season.
Just a sophomore, Gunning is second in the nation with 159 saves from the goalkeeper position. Her .475 save percentage is good for 23rd nationally, while her 9.35 saves per game ranks 26th. Gunning has won AAC Defensive Player of the Week twice this season and earned a spot on the AAC Weekly Honor Roll once. She has 10 or more saves in nine games in 2021.
Souza leads the Commodores with 29 goals and is second on the team with 40 points. In 10 AAC games this season, Souza has accounted for 12 goals and five assists. The junior had a goal in the first 13 games of the season and has 10 games with more than one goal. She set a career high with six goals against High Point in March.
Dadino, one of the leaders on defense, is second on the team with 14 caused turnovers. She has also accounted for 25 ground balls in 2021. The senior has four games with multiple caused turnovers, including two at No. 1 North Carolina. She also had eight games with more than one ground ball on the season.
|All-AAC First Team|
|*Gabby Fornia – Attack – Senior|
|*Melissa Hawkins – Defense – Senior|
|Bri Gross – Midfield – Junior|
|Cassidy Orban – Midfield – Senior|
|* unanimous selection|
|All-AAC Second Team|
|Paige Gunning – Goalkeeper – Sophomore|
|Maddie Souza – Attack – Junior|
|Nicki Dadino – Defense – Senior|