Vanderbilt lacrosse hosted Old Dominion at Vanderbilt Stadium on Thursday in the first of two matches against ODU this weekend, and the Commodores never allowed the Big Blue to settle in. The Commodores built on their success as they steamrolled Old Dominion 16-5, earning their eighth consecutive win. The two-game homestand against the Big Blue represent the final home games of the seniors’ careers at Vanderbilt.
“As a team and staff, we wanted to highlight the seniors today,” head coach Beth Hewitt said after the game. “To win the way we did was all I could have asked for as this game made me proud of the effort in every phase of the game by the entire team.”
After honoring the program’s seniors pregame, the Commodores had control within minutes of the first whistle. Old Dominion won the face-off and attacker Lilly Siskind found a promising look at the goal, but Vanderbilt goalie Paige Gunning protected the Commodores from an early deficit. Within the next 90 seconds, the Commodores led 2-0. These two goals set the tempo for the day, and it was only fitting that the first two goals were scored by seniors Cassidy Orban and Elizabeth Scarrone. Old Dominion attacker Lily Siskind found another promising look at net and capitalized with roughly 24 minutes remaining in the first half to make the score 2-1.
Vanderbilt, leading by one goal, needed to up the tempo with plenty of time left in the first half. Appropriately, it was senior Griffin Gearhardt who began Vanderbilt’s annihilation of Old Dominion. The senior attacker struck into Old Dominion nearly halfway through the first half, scoring her ninth goal of the season. After this goal, the fire of the Commodores stayed hot as they turned a 3-1 lead into an 8-1 obliteration. The younger student-athletes chipped in as junior Bri Gross added 2 goals, while Paige Finneran, Lila Huddles and Maddie Souza added one. Old Dominion scored minutes later, but an 8-2 deficit proved too strong for a tide turn. Vanderbilt made their mark as three more goals were added to end the half, putting the game at 11-2 entering halftime.
Vanderbilt continued its first half momentum as the Commodores firmly protected their lead. Gunning, the NCAA-leader in saves, was excellent guarding the goal, as the sophomore had 12 saves for the Commodores before being cheered off the field with four minutes remaining in the game. The stout protection on Vanderbilt’s back end complemented the relentless attack of the Commodores.
Orban found herself in the scoring column for the third time as she boosted Vanderbilt’s lead to 12-2 with around 23 minutes remaining in the game. Old Dominion responded, but Vanderbilt silenced the opponents once again. This time, Orban’s senior counterpart and fellow New Jersey native, Gabby Fornia punched back, nailing the ball into the top of the net, giving Vanderbilt a 13-3 cushion. Vanderbilt continued their attack the rest of the game, as the Commodores silenced Old Dominion 16-5.
If the Commodores win their next two games, they will be tied with the 2010 Vanderbilt Lacrosse team for the longest win-streak in Vanderbilt history.
The 10-2 Vanderbilt Commodores will look to win their 9th connective game as they host Old Dominion for Senior Day on April 3.