Dramatic fourth-quarter comeback leads Commodores to 13-11 win over Coastal Carolina

The No. 24 Vanderbilt Commodores came back from three goals down in the fourth quarter to beat the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and win their fourth straight game.

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Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt lacrosse beat Coastal Carolina in their nonconference finale on March 27, 2022. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Frankie Sheehy, Staff Writer

The No. 24 Vanderbilt Commodores (7-3) lacrosse team returned home on Sunday to beat the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (4-5), 13-11. The Commodores trailed for most of the game, but came back in the game’s final quarter to win their fourth straight in their last game before American Athletic Conference (AAC) play. The effort was led by Karlie Bucci, whose hat trick included the eventual winning goal.

“I think the energy from the last couple of games has helped me out,” Bucci told The Hustler. “My teammates around me are working really hard. Bri Gross getting the ground balls and feeding me in the middle is really helpful.”

The Chanticleers got on the board first, but Vanderbilt tied the game up in the first two minutes off a goal by junior Paige Finneran. After a six-minute gap in which the Commodores couldn’t score despite being on the attack, Coastal Carolina added two more in a row to make it 3-1. Eventually, Vanderbilt was able to find the net again as fifth-year senior and team leader in points Gabby Fornia made it 3-2. The Commodores were in control of most of the first quarter, but Chanticleer goalkeeper Claire Martell made seven saves to keep the visitors ahead.

Coastal Carolina scored the first goal of the second quarter, but senior Maddie Souza tallied her 10th goal of the season to bring the Commodores back within one. The Vanderbilt pressure continued throughout the quarter, but breakthroughs were hard to come by. The Chanticleers scored consecutive goals despite spending most of the period in their own zone. The Commodores outshot the Chanticleers 20-11 in the first half, but trailed 6-3 at the intermission.

“We were trying to just run down their throats and shoot. And with a goalie of that caliber, we really have got to move her a lot better and shoot more for the pipes,” head coach Beth Hewitt said.

The Commodores looked to get back into the game to start the third quarter, with senior Callie Sundin scoring the first goal of the half. Vanderbilt made it two in a row with senior Bucci’s first goal on her fourth shot of the game to draw within one. After one Chanticleer goal, junior Lila Huddles became the sixth different Commodore on the scoresheet. The visitors added two more in a row before sophomore Ella Smith’s second goal of the season made it 9-7. After one more from the Chanticleers, Vanderbilt took a three-goal deficit into the fourth quarter.

Senior Bri Gross scored her first goal of the game in the fourth to add to her team-leading 21 tallies this season. After Bucci added her second of the day, Sundin made it three in a row for the Commodores to tie the game up, forcing a Coastal Carolina timeout.

Just a minute later, sophomore Ellie Hilsabeck scored to put Vanderbilt ahead for the first time in the game. The Chanticleers stopped the bleeding a couple minutes later to tie the game at 11-11, but Bucci secured her hat trick with two minutes on the clock to put the Commodores ahead. Hilsabeck scored her second in the final few minutes to double the advantage and secure the 13-11 victory.

“Lacrosse is a game of ups and downs. We’re going on these really big highs and big lows,” Bucci said. “I think that going into conference play, we’re going to string all four quarters together and eke out those wins.”

Next up for the Commodores is a trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to take on Temple in their first AAC game on April 2.