LACROSSE: Eagles Top Vandy At Home
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 23:02
For the Boston College women’s lacrosse team, yesterday’s game against Vanderbilt was more than just another home opener. It marked a new beginning on the Eagles’ home turf under the leadership of first-year head coach Acacia Walker.
BC continued to embrace its new beginning, as it topped the Commodores by a score of 13-8 and improved its record to a perfect 2-0 on the young 2013 season.
In an afternoon dominated by offense, the Eagles’ scoring barrage was a combination of veteran contributions and another breakout performance. Walker’s squad was sparked by a prolific home debut by freshman midfielder Sarah Mannelly, who notched four scores and five total points on the afternoon. The former Connecticut Player of the Year had a tough act to follow after setting the bar high in her first-ever collegiate game on Saturday, in which she scored four goals and contributed four assists. Yet Mannelly managed to duplicate her first performance yesterday against a befuddled Vanderbilt defense.
Despite Mannelly’s heroics, the first half’s initial stages made no promises of an easy cruise to victory for BC. Sophomore Mikaela Rix picked up right where she left off after her historic 43-goal rookie season last year by tallying the contest’s first score, but Vanderbilt was quick to respond. Kelly Chandler and Carly Linthicium rallied with back-to-back goals that were only 48 seconds apart, briefly handing a lead to the Commodores.
Vanderbilt’s threat to take control of the game was short-lived, however, as the Eagles appeared poised to defend their home turf. Almost six minutes after surrendering a pair of goals, BC senior captain Brooke Blue connected on an unassisted score that opened up the offensive floodgates for the Eagles. A 6-0 scoring run that began with Blue’s drive also included scores from Kate Rich, Mannelly, Rix, and defending ACC Rookie of the Year Covie Stanwick, whose two goals during the barrage sent her en route to a hat trick after posting six scores last weekend.
After being held scoreless for nearly 26 minutes, the Commodores finally responded right before the half with a Mallory Schonk goal—the first of her four scores on the afternoon. Yet by the time the dust had cleared, BC had staked a commanding 7-3 lead while outshooting Vanderbilt by a dominant margin of 26-4.
Regardless of what the visiting team planned to unleash for the second frame, the Eagles made it clear that they had control of the matchup’s momentum. The dynamic trio of Stanwick, Mallory, and Blue accounted for BC’s first three goals of the half and fought their way to a 10-6 lead. Another strike from Schonk interrupted the Eagles’ run, but Mannelly provided an immediate response by netting another two goals in under a minute, one of which came off of a highlight-reel spin move that showcased the freshman’s explosive athleticism. She eventually capped her attention-grabbing performance with an assist to Moira Barry for a second-half insurance score.
The Commodore offense managed to produce two more goals in the second half than it had in the previous fame, but BC’s sophomore goalie Emily Mata fended off any legitimate Vanderbilt comeback attempt with sound play in the net. She posted four saves and her second victory of the season, looking to build on a quick start following strong a second half to her rookie season last year.
The 13-7 win was another step in the right direction for the Eagles with Walker at the helm. Including her two seasons with the BC squad as an assistant, the former U.S. women’s national team star has played a role in 10 of the last 11 NCAA tournaments both on the field as a player and along the sidelines as a coach. If yesterday’s victory is any indication, Walker’s winning pedigree will continue to inspire the Eagles to reach their greatest potential in a competitive ACC. n