NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a tight game, the Jacksonville University women’s lacrosse team were able to keep their composure as Vanderbilt worked a 4-0 scoring run to pull within one goal near the end of regulation. For the squad’s third straight victory, the Dolphins held an 11-10 advantage.
“We set the tempo early and peppered shots on goal with 20 in the first half,” said Head Coach Mindy McCord. “Our pressure in the midfield and defensively caused 21 turnovers by a veteran group. We were pleased with our pressure and our number of shots. I think Vandy’s goalkeeper and our goalkeeper made some nice stops. We shot a bit too much high to stick side high and got away with a win so that's great but those shots are losing edge. We nailed the pipe four times in the second half, trying too hard to score. Credit their goalie for affecting those shots.”
Morgan Derner was the first to tally a goal (24:14) and over the next five minutes the squads traded score-for-score until Vandy held a 3-2 lead at 18:32. Later, at the six-minute mark, the Commodores sent in a score to jump out 6-3 and from that point on JU climbed out of the deficit and seized control of the game.
A pair of goals from Jess Worcester and another from Derner knotted the contest at 6-all with 3:17 remaining. Playing with a man-down with 55 seconds left wasn’t supposed to play in Jacksonville’s favor but Derner, who recently recorded her 200th career point, used the extra space on the field to knock in her third goal of the game. At the break, JU lead Vandy, 8-6.
Continuing on with the same fire they ended the first stanza with, three consecutive goals from Danielle Della Rocca, Brittney Orashen and Ali Hoffman provided the Fins an 11-6 lead at 25:26.
Even though they fell behind by five goals, the Commodores wouldn’t allow the Fins to close the door just yet. At the 22:49 mark, Vanderbilt ended its scoring drought with an eventual 4-0 run to nearly pull even. Abby Wheeler, the contributor of three of the four goals, laced her fourth score of the evening and suddenly the Commodores were only trailing by one score, 11-10, with 4:39 remaining.
“Vandy never gave up. At the end of the game to kill the clock out was important. We showed our speed and I can't tell you how proud I am of the team. They are really awesome and to bring home a win on our fifth straight road game was huge especially at a school with all the resources and scholarships. It's great to beat them two years in a row.”
The Commodores missed on the opportunity to tie the game when a free-position shot traveled wide of the goal (3:00) and JU kept the team at bay through the final horns.
Derner directed JU’s offense on a hat-trick and an assist while Della Rocca, Worcester, and Hoffman all posted two goals. Keeper Asia Moore played the entire sixty minutes in goal and recorded nine saves.
“Morgan Derner has been awesome. She's an all-American candidate. Her speed is unrivaled in college lacrosse and she is a monster in the midfield and now defensively. That move has been awesome for her and for our team. I am pumped for her. Paul and I have loved coaching her since her 9th grade year and she saved the best for last. What a wonderful young woman, student and athlete.”
Jacksonville returns to D.B. Milne next weekend when they host Howard on Friday, April 25 and Elon two days later to close out the regular season.