Vanderbilt Sprints Past Kennesaw State to Even Record

The Vanderbilt lacrosse team evened its record at 1-1 by winning its 2013 home opener Sunday, defeating visiting Kennesaw State by a tally of 22-3.

Playing in a constant rain storm with winds approaching 25 miles per hour, the Commodores were able to break out to a 10-goal advantage in the first 21 minutes and cruise to victory over the Owls. Kennesaw State is in its first season playing NCAA Division I lacrosse.

"This was a really important game for us," VU Head Coach Cathy Swezey said. "In our first game against Jacksonville, we were nervous and it showed at times. Today was important for us to shake off the nerves and simply play based on how hard we've worked. It was a good day for us to recognize how talented we are."

Senior Carly Linthicum led the Commodores in scoring for the second straight game, tallying five goals and adding an assist. Junior Abby Wheeler added a hat-trick. The Commodores' 14 other goals were all scored by members of the freshmen class.

"This is one of the best recruiting classes we have had here," Swezey said. "While they're capable of incredible things, there's a lot of pressure on freshmen who starting or even coming off the bench first. They have to learn to get used to that."

Kelly Chandler and Amanda Lockwood scored four goals each, while Alexa Kunowsky added a hat-trick. Ashlin Dolan, Mallory Schonk and Mackenzie Smith all added goals as well. Eleven of VU's 22 goals were assisted, with Dolan passing the squad with three helpers.

While the Owls held a 14-13 advantage on the draw, Vanderbilt registered 12 caused turnovers in the contest led by five from Schonk.

In the Commodore goal, senior Chelsea Pasfield made two saves in the first half as VU grew its lead to 15-3 at the break. Sophomore Maddie Kratz saved the only shot she faced in the second stanza.

Vanderbilt will remain at home this week and play host to Denver on Saturday, Feb. 16, for a 1:00 p.m. CT match. That game will be the Pioneers' 2013 season opener.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kennesaw State made history on Sunday when it played the first-ever game in program history against Vanderbilt.

Freshman Senneca Ward (Peachtree City, Ga./McIntosh HS) scored two goals, including the first in Owls' history, and Taylor Southerland (Acworth, Ga./Harrison HS) added another as Kennesaw State (0-1) fell 22-3 to the Commodores (1-1) in a steady rain at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex.

Although the Owls came up short, the experience provided an opportunity for first-year head coach Kristina Llanes an opportunity to assess the team's progress and a point to build from.

“I think we learned a lot. I think we gained valuable experience against a veteran team that has several successful seasons under their belt and I'm appreciative of the opportunity to compete against Vanderbilt,” Llanes said. “I think our athletes came to win. There are so many things that we can build on and I'm excited.”

After Vanderbilt scored the first two goals of the game, Ward put herself in the Kennesaw State history books when she converted a free position shot to cut the lead in half three and a half minutes into the game. Southerland joined Ward on the tally sheet when she scored an unassisted goal with 21:15 left in the opened period that made the score 6-2.

“We fought hard in our first game. We definitely have a lot of room to improve but we're just going to get better from here,” Southerland said. “It's exciting. We now know specifically what we need to work on in game-like situations.”

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