2000-2001 Women's Lacrosse

Two All-Americans, one Coach of the Year nominee, 10 wins and a Top 15 ranking. The 2000 Vanderbilt lacrosse team experienced its best season in its five years as a varsity sport. Although the team kicked off the season with a 0-3 start, it quickly recovered and went on a 10-3 run, to finish the season with a 10-6 record.

Although the first three games of the season were losses, the team proved that it can play with the top teams in the country. Liz Drennan had a hat trick in the first game of the season versus No. 6 Georgetown. Against No. 13 George Mason, Sue Napolitano contributed an impressive five goals, including two in the second half to put the Commodores within one goal of the Patriots. The Commodores put up a fight against the No. 5 team in the country, North Carolina. At one point, the Commodores cut the lead to 9-7, but couldn't hold on for the win.

Fortunately, the team's losing streak ended there. The team returned home and defeated the University of New Hampshire, 16-7, and Towson University, 9-5. The Commodores put up a tough fight against fifth-ranked Duke in Raleigh. At the half, Vanderbilt led the 1999 Final Four team, 7-5. Eventually, the Blue Devils came out on top, but despite the tough loss, the team didn't give up yet. The Commodores returned home and defeated two opponents, including a 19-16 win over Virginia Tech and an overtime upset over No. 10 Boston University. The team headed to Baltimore, where it defeated No. 17 Cornell, 12-6, in a virtual home meet for the team. While the meeting took place at neutral John Hopkins, over 200 Commodore fans showed up for the contest due to the fact that the majority of the team's hometowns are no more than a 90-minute drive away. The Cornell win gave the Commodores the final boost they needed, moving to 12th in the rankings, the highest place of the season.

As the season wound down, the possibility of a NCAA berth looked increasingly good. With 12 teams invited to the tournament, Vanderbilt would need to hold onto its No. 12 ranking to see its first trip to post-season action. Despite winning five of their next six games, the Commodores fell from the Top 12 to No. 13 due to a 12-11 loss to No. 9 Virginia. With a win, the Commodores would have undoubtedly received a bid to the tournament.

The post season was not without honor though. Sue Napolitano received Honorable Mention All-American honors from US Lacrosse. Both Napolitano and Meredith Shuey were named to the Brine/Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches' Association's All-America Third Team. Head Coach Cathy Swezey was nominated as a "Coach of the Year" candidate by the IWLCA in just her third year as head coach for Vanderbilt.

For the 2001 season, the veterans of last year will be expected to continue the success laid before them. The incoming freshman will also be handed a big role. "We only have three seniors on the team this year," Swezey said. "The freshman really need to step up to the plate this season. Last year's season was the most successful one we have had so far, " Swezey continued. "And I couldn't be more excited about this year. We were a little disappointed about missing the NCAA Tournament, but we know that we will get there in the near future."


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