ECU Women's Lacrosse drops AAC opener to Vanderbilt, 14-10

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – A scoreless stretch in the second half hurt the ECU women’s lacrosse team as the Pirates fell to Vanderbilt 14-10 on Sunday inside Johnson Stadium.

It was the inaugural American Athletic Conference match for both ECU (5-7, 0-1) and Vanderbilt (9-2, 1-0).

In the early going, ECU went punch for punch with the Commodores. After Sophie Furlong opened the scoring for Vanderbilt, ECU rattled off a 3-0 run to answer. First, Nicole LeGar threw a pass ahead to Emma Bowman and Bowman had a breakaway opportunity. The junior calmly slotted a shot past Vanderbilt’s goalkeeper to tie the game. Ally Stanton followed by curling around the back of the net and scoring a goal of her own. The run culminated with Megan Pallozzi letting loose a long-range effort into the top corner of the goal.

Vanderbilt answered with a 3-0 run of its own. All three were unassisted goals, including a free-position goal for Furlong.

The Pirates regained the lead through back to back goals by Camryn Pennypacker and Pallozzi, Pallozzi’s coming on a free-position shot. The lead was short lived though, as Vanderbilt scored two straight goals to retake the lead. A goal by LeGar with 6:00 to go in the opening half tied the score at 6-6.

Vanderbilt created some separation by scoring the final three goals of the opening stanza, including a goal with just nine seconds on the clock. That made the score 9-6 as the teams went to the locker room.

The second half opened with neither team scoring for the first 10:39. Finally, Vanderbilt’s Callie Sundin scored off a pass from Gabrielle Fornia to break the seal.

While ECU answered Sundin’s tally when Hannah Rzempoluch scored off a bullet pass by LeGar, that was the only ECU goal during the first 21 minutes of the second half. In that span, Vanderbilt scored four goals, including Sundin’s marker, to take a 13-7 lead.

The Pirates mounted one final run in the late stages. Stanton bagged another free position goal with 8:16 remaining. That was canceled out by Furlong scoring her third goal of the game. But consecutive goals by LeGar and then Stanton, completing a hat trick of her own, cut the lead to 14-10 with 3:30 left. But ECU could not get any closer and the Commodores closed out the win.

ECU will get another chance at earning its first conference win next Saturday when the Pirates play host to Cincinnati.