2002 Season Review
In its first year of existence, the American Lacrosse Conference made quite
a name for itself. The seven-member league boasted four teams in the nation's
top-20 for most of the season, earning two NCAA Tournament berths. The ALC has
also showcased the talents of some of the best players in Division I women's
lacrosse. The 2002 Vanderbilt Commodores forged a path of success for the ALC
Beginning a new conference opens up a new world of possibilities. The slate
is wiped clean; the record books are empty. They are many new goals to play
for, many firsts to be a part of. Vanderbilt took full advantage of its maiden
voyage into the ALC. In the first week of action, the Commodores - picked third
in the conference and 19th in the nation in preseason polls - knocked off ALC
foes No. 14 Johns Hopkins and No.11 Penn State. A mere 39 seconds into the first
game in the history of the conference, Vanderbilt junior Jeannie Crawley scored
the ALC's first goal. She would go on to accumulate 38 goals over the course
of the season, scoring in all 15 regular season matches and tallying nine hat-tricks.
Freshman goalkeeper Ashley Bastinelli, in her first two collegiate appearances,
made 27 saves while allowing only 10 goals. She was named the first-ever ALC
Player-of-the-Week on March 5.
The Commodores clinched the inaugural regular season conference championship
on April 21 by defeating the 18th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. It was Vanderbilt's
third victory over a ranked conference opponent and gave the Commodores a 5-0
league record. The Commodores completed their undefeated conquest of the league
three weeks later by defeating Northwestern.
For her play against Ohio State, junior Tara Schmucker was honored as the Commodores'
second ALC Player-of-the-Week in late April. Schmucker keyed a defensive effort
that held Ohio State, the most prolific team in the conference, to only three
goals in the second half. She also added two goals and the game-winning assist.
The same week, sophomore Jess Roguski earned national recognition, being named
to the InsideLacrosse.com Honor Roll. After posting eight draw controls in the
match, Roguski led the ALC in draw controls per game. Roguski remained first
in the league in controlling the draw for the remainder of the season.
Commodore head coach Cathy Swezey was named the conference's Coach-of-the-Year
after leading her team to its best season ever; a season that began with Vanderbilt
posting its best start in the history of the program. The Commodores won seven
of their first nine games and climbed the Brine/IWLCA national lacrosse poll
as high as eighth. The No. 8 position marked Vanderbilt's highest national ranking
in the program's seven-year history. Swezey credited the strength of her players
for their success, and she should know. Last year's campaign marked Swezey's
fifth at the helm of the Commodores, and the three-person senior class - the
Class of 2002 - was the first class that Swezey recruited to play at Vanderbilt.
She has had the luxury of watching them grow and learn over the past five seasons.
Liz Drennan led the team and the league in assists for the majority of the
season, tying the Vanderbilt single-season record. She laso finished No. 10
nationally for assists.
Kinsey Osberg led the team in assists in 2000 and 2001 and is tied for fourth
on the Vanderbilt career assists chart. Last season, the tri-captain started
her 63rd consecutive game, a Commodore record.
Megan Lewis, a tri-captain in the Commodore defense, was named first team all-conference
this season, after earning second team regional All-America accolades last year.
She also was named second team All-Region and third team All-American. She led
Vanderbilt in caused turnovers the past three seasons.
The presence of strong, enduring leadership will help the Commodores continue
to grow as a program, as will strong support from the Vanderbilt athletic department.
Last year, the Commodores played their home matches in the Vanderbilt Football
Stadium while a state-of-the-art lacrosse and soccer facility was being constructed.
Despite the unfamiliar environment, Vanderbilt won seven out of eight home matches
and equaled its longest home winning streak. The new facility promises to be
one of the best in the country and should help the Commodores feel even more
at home in Nashville.
Vanderbilt has moved into the top-echelons of Division I lacrosse. A No. 8
ranking, a conference title, and numerous individual awards have paved the way
for the Commodores to have a successful program for years to come. The American
Lacrosse Conference has seen what Vanderbilt can do. In the coming years, the
Commodores and the ALC are sure to turn a lot of heads.
* First appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championships
* American Lacrosse Conference regular season champions - undefeated in league
* Ranked as high as No. 8; finished season in the top-10 - both program firsts
* 10-6 record against the eighth toughest schedule in the country
* Megan Lewis named first-team All-Conference, All-Region, All-America
* Ashley Bastinelli and Tara Schmucker each named a Player of the Week
* Tara Schmucker anmed All-South region
* Jess Roguski named to InsideLacrosse.com weekly Honor Roll
* Cathy Swezey named ALC Coach of the Year and InsideLacrosse.com Coach of the