Vanderbilt’s energetic attack to the cage, resulting in its highest score of the season, was not enough to stop the No. 7 Penn State women’s lacrosse team.
Penn State came out on top in its first ALC game of the season, beating Vanderbilt, 20-14, on Sunday.
This win marks Penn State’s first victory in the American Lacrosse Conference. The ALC is comprised of six Eastern teams, including Ohio State, Northwestern, Florida and Johns Hopkins.
The Lions will face their second ALC opponent on March 30 when they welcome Florida to Happy Valley.
Vanderbilt (1-8) had a tough start to the season, with low scoring matchups and close final scores. Penn State and Vanderbilt have a tight race going with the Lions, now leading the Commodores 9-7 all-time in their conference matchups after Sunday’s win.
“Vanderbilt is always tough. They have had some close losses this season and we knew that they were a top program,” head coach Missy Doherty said. “It was great to come in and give them our all, and it was what we had to do to win against them because you can’t come in with half effort and expect to win against a team like that.”
Senior captain Molly Fernandez got Penn State started with a goal two minutes into the first half.
Fernandez was one of seven Lions to find the back of the cage in the victory, and one of six to have a multiple goal game. Sophomore Maggie McCormick, the Lions’ leading scorer, led the team with five goals.
“It’s always nice to be on a high run. I always do what I can to help the team, and right now I guess that means scoring goals, but a lot of the time it means assisting, and regardless I do whatever I can to help,” McCormick said.
Two of McCormick’s five goals in Sunday’s victory were unassisted. She said that she wants to work on getting more comfortable with a solo attack to the cage.
“My comfort zone is definitely in feeding. But I think in the last couple of games I have definitely become more comfortable scoring goals, and fortunately my team gives me a lot of good feeds so it makes it easy,” McCormick said.
Penn State led Vanderbilt 10-7 in draw controls in the first half, but fell off, losing to Vanderbilt on the draw 13-5.
“I think we are getting a little bit better [on the draw],” Doherty said. “I think when you are facing two competitive teams the 50/50 balls are 50/50, so we wanted to work harder in the second half to come up with those, but Vanderbilt was working hard for them too, so we always want to get better at that.”
Doherty regularly switches players in the draw to counterbalance what the other team brings to the line.
Sophomore Tatum Coffey and freshman Jenna Mosketti switched it up on the draw, getting two and three draw controls respectively. Katie Guy and Haley Ford also had two draw controls each for the Lions.
“I really feel comfortable on the draw, and I trust my teammates Jenna, Katie [Guy] and Kelly [Lechner] to get the draw,” Coffey said.
Penn State remains undefeated at home, and hopes to improve its 2-3 away record when it faces Drexel on Friday at 7 p.m. in Philadelphia.