The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt Lacrosse falls to Hofstra 11-8, drops to 1-2 on the season

The Commodores were unable to capitalize with home-field advantage, losing to the Pride on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Anseley Philippe
Vanderbilt falls to Hofstra at home on Feb. 18. 2023 (Hustler Multimedia/Anseley Philippe).

Vanderbilt struggled in its third game of the season after going 1-1 in its opening weekend against Colorado and No. 9 Denver. The Commodores defeated the Buffaloes by a score of 11-10 before losing to the Pioneers two days later, dropping that contest 10-6.

The Pride was in control all day, taking a 3-0 lead and never looking back, despite Vanderbilt’s best efforts. Vanderbilt was unable to overcome an early 3-0 deficit even with a stellar four-goal performance from Kemper Robinson, falling to Hofstra by a final score of 11-8.

“I felt like we got a little down on ourselves when they took the lead early,” head coach Beth Hewitt said. “I felt like we got out of our game a little bit. We’ve got a whole new offensive unit this year, so [we are] just trying to make sure they stay confident even when things aren’t super easy.”

After the Commodores won the face-off, they created a nice opportunity for themselves with efficient and effective ball movement before a turnover gave the ball to the Pride. Hofstra was kept out of the net on its first possession after a quality save by goalkeeper Paige Gunning. After another Vanderbilt turnover, though, the Commodores committed a foul, leading to a free-position goal from Nikki Menella to put Hofstra up 1-0. The Pride followed that up with a methodical offensive possession to go up two scores behind a goal from Taylor Mennella.

Vanderbilt continued to struggle more than halfway through the first quarter. A three-second violation by Hofstra put the Commodores in free position with a chance to get on the board, but Nancy Halleron moved before the referee’s whistle, giving the Pride possession right back. After a few back-and-forth possessions, Menella converted on another shot to give Hofstra a 3-0 lead. The first quarter ended with a save from Hofstra goalkeeper Jess Smith. 

Vanderbilt won the draw out of the break but was still unable to crack the code as Smith made another save. Minutes later, the Pride had Vanderbilt on the ropes with a fast-break opportunity, but Gunning calmly stepped up and made a save. The Commodores then turned their defense into offense, as Kemper Robinson put them on the board to cut Hofstra’s lead down to two. Hofstra’s Lauren Coletti struck back to increase the margin back to three, but Vanderbilt refused to go away as Robinson responded right back with another score. As the teams entered the locker rooms for halftime, Hofstra led by a score of 4-2. 

Hofstra controlled possession out of the half, but Gunning snagged her fifth save of the game to give the Commodores the ball back. Robinson wasted no time, scoring her third goal of the game for a hat-trick to bring Vanderbilt within just one score. After Gunning made one save, Hofstra converted on back-to-back shot attempts, and Jackie Gatti and Megan Flannery found the net to give the Pride a commanding 6-3 lead. Chloe Sedlar got in on the scoring for Hofstra halfway through the third period to increase the deficit to 7-3. Moments later, Mennella completed her hat trick and then found her sister, Taylor Mennella, for another goal. Leading 9-3, Hofstra had all of the momentum as time in the third quarter dwindled. The Commodores got a much-needed goal from Molly Finlay, and after Gunning’s seventh save, Robinson stole the ball, outran her defender and added her fourth goal of the game to keep Vanderbilt alive. After the third quarter ended, Vanderbilt trailed 9-5. 

Something had clearly clicked for Vanderbilt. The Commodores wasted no time finding the net again as Paige Finneran scored her second goal of the season just 17 seconds into the fourth quarter. A few minutes later, Bri Gross got in on the scoring action, and the scoreboard showed 9-7 with just over 10 minutes remaining. Nikki Mennella scored her fourth of the game as Hofstra continued to try to push the Commodores away. Gross added another goal with just over five minutes left to bring Vanderbilt back within two again, but Mennella answered again, determined to will her team to victory. 

In the end, the Commodores’ comeback efforts ultimately fell short, as the final score of the game was 11-8 in favor of the Pride. 

The Commodores will have a chance to reassess this week as they prepare to host Louisville on Monday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. CST.

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About the Contributors
Aiden Rutman
Aiden Rutman, Sports Editor
Aiden Rutman (‘25) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in communication studies. He formerly produced The Hustler’s sports podcast, Live from West End. In addition to writing and podcasting, Aiden is an avid New York sports fan, and he loves playing sports, spending time outdoors and trying new foods. You can reach him at [email protected].
Anseley Philippe
Anseley Philippe, Staff Writer and Photographer
Anseley Philippe ('25) is a potential biomedical engineering and Spanish double-major who aspires to be an immunologist. Outside of The Hustler, he can be found queuing up at 2301, wandering around campus during his evening promenades or trying to keep up with his Spanish. He can be reached at [email protected].
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