NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt lacrosse team was picked to finish second in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), the league announced Wednesday.
Led by first-year head coach Beth Hewitt, the Commodores are poised to begin their first year in the AAC. The Dores return seven starters from last season’s team, including two All-Big East performers in Julie Blaze and Emily Mathewson.
Mathewson finished second among Dores with 51 goals in her sophomore season, with her 77 total points ranking second in the Big East last season.
Blaze has earned back-to-back honors as a member of All-Big East teams and will look to make it three straight all-conference citations in her upcoming senior season. Last season, she finished atop the Dores’ leaders in points (44) and goals (33). She also collected 41 draw controls, picked up 33 ground balls and caused 19 turnovers.
Blaze and Mathewson landed on the preseason all-conference team in unanimous fashion. Melanie Becker was also selected to the preseason all-conference team.
Becker started all 17 games last year for the Dores and finished fourth on the team in goals with 20. She also finished second with 39 ground balls and added five assists.
The AAC is set to begin its first season hosting women’s lacrosse. The Commodores are joined by former Big East members Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida and Temple. East Carolina joins the conference after spending last season as an independent.
The Dores kick off the 2019 season at home on Feb. 10 against Wagner.
American Athletic Conference Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Florida (5) 25
2. Vanderbilt (1) 18
3. Connecticut 17
4. Temple 16
5. Cincinnati 9
6. East Carolina 5
Preseason Attacker of the Year
Lindsey Ronbeck, Sr., Florida*
Preseason Defender of the Year
Cara Trombetta, Jr., Florida*
Preseason Midfielder of the Year
Sydney Pirreca, Sr., Florida*
Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year
Haley Hicklen, Sr., Florida*
Preseason All-Conference Team
Monica Borzillo, Jr., A, Cincinnati*
Amanda Donovan, Sr., M, Cincinnati
Sam Mlkvy, R-Jr., M, Cincinnati
Caitlin Leary, Sr., A, UConn
Olivia Miles, Jr., M, UConn
Sydney Watson, So., M, UConn*
Megan Pallozzi, So., M, ECU
Sabrina Cristodero, So., D, Florida
Grace Haus, So., A, Florida*
Haley Hicklen, Sr., GK, Florida*
Shannon Kavanaugh, So., M, Florida*
Sydney Pirreca, Sr., M, Florida*
Lindsey Ronbeck, Sr., A, Florida*
Cara Trombetta, Jr., D, Florida*
Maddie Gebert, Jr., M, Temple*
Amber Lambeth, Sr., M, Temple
Kara Nakrasius, Jr., D, Temple*
Melanie Becker, Sr., M, Vanderbilt
Julie Blaze, Sr., M, Vanderbilt*
Emily Mathewson, Jr., A, Vanderbilt*
* Unanimous selection