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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 starts season off hot, defeats Central Michigan 19-4

In their first match of the 2024 season, the Commodores dominated the Chippewas.
Anseley Philippe
The Commodores celebrate a goal, as photographed on Feb. 17, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Anseley Philippe)

Starting off the 2024 season at home against the Central Michigan Chippewas, the Vanderbilt Commodores prevailed in a 19-4 victory. Kemper Robinson scored five goals and Brooke Baker added five goals and an assist. Vanderbilt held a massive shot margin over its opponent, 27-16, and the defense caused 11 out of Central Michigan’s 17 turnovers.

“We started out really strong and we wanted to go in and set the tempo,” Baker said. “I think that’s exactly what we did. They [Central Michigan] didn’t take lead ever, and that’s exactly what we do around here.”

Two early yellow cards given to Molly Finlay and Ella Smith forced the Commodores to play two players down just one minute into the contest. Using their numbers advantage, the Chippewas would strike first, as Celia Dow would rip a shot past goalie Paige Gunning. After a beautiful save on Central Michigan’s next shot, the Commodores would answer back in transition, with Robinson putting in a goal due to a great pass by Smith. On the immediate possession, Anna Taraboletti would strip the ball from Jozy Allen in the midfield, leading to another quick goal for Robinson, putting Vanderbilt up 2-1. 

Vanderbilt would continue the first quarter playing in dominant fashion, with UNC transfer Baker logging in a hat trick alongside a goal from Finlay. The Commodores held Central Michigan to only three shots in the first quarter.

The second quarter proved to be much of the same, as on Central Michigan’s first possession, Alex Gladding forced a turnover, allowing for a quick clearance by Elise Bialecki that led to a powerful shot and score for Smith. Central Michigan was unable to find any real answers for the Commodores offense, while simultaneously struggling to get past a forceful Vanderbilt defense. By halftime, the Commodores were up 13-3 and outshot Central Michigan 18-6. 

“We were playing really aggressive and we had to figure out how to rein it in. I just thought the players were so locked in from the beginning and played a very consistent game,” head coach Beth Hewitt said.

Central Michigan would start the second half on a better note, trying to play up to the challenge the Commodores presented. However, after a long attack possession, the Chippewas committed a foul, giving Baker her fifth goal off a free-position attempt. The same would happen on Vanderbilt’s next possession as a Central Michigan foul gave Smith a free-position attempt that would allow her to earn her second goal of the day. The Chippewas got the chance to retaliate on a free-position attempt of their own, only to be shut down by Gunning, Vanderbilt’s career leader in saves. The third quarter would be capped off by two more Commodore goals. Through just three quarters, the Commodores tied their highest goal output of last season at 17. 

With a steady rhythm, Vanderbilt would continue to cruise throughout the fourth quarter, getting some fresh legs on the field through substitutions. Even then, the Chippewas found themselves scrambling to try and get goals on the board to no avail. Another Central Michigan shot attempt was swallowed up by Gunning before sophomore Emma Davis scored the first goal of her career. Central Michigan would finally score its first goal since the start of the second quarter, but it was too little, too late. 

The Commodores would eventually win 19-4.

“We’re taking it one game at a time but we’re super excited to have a start like this and now we just want to keep it rolling,” Hewitt said.

Next up, Vanderbilt will travel to Indianapolis, Ind. to face Butler, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. CST.

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About the Contributors
David Hernandez
David Hernandez, Lead Sports Analyst
David Hernandez (‘26) is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences double majoring in political science and law, history and society with a minor in communication studies. Outside of writing for The Hustler, you can find him playing basketball, catching up on his favorite shows and mourning the tragedy that is New York sports. He can be reached 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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