The Commodores are off to a good start in their season with a 5-1 record. They have victories over Memphis, Ohio, St. Louis, Miami (FL), and North Alabama. Their only loss was a 2-1 defeat to #3 ranked Florida State.
Their leading goal scorers are Haley Hopkins and Kaylann Boyd with four goals each. Hopkins also has two assists. Of Hopkins 15 shots, 9 have been on goal. She is accurate and effective, taking wise shots.
Head Coach Darren Ambrose is pleased thus far with his team’s effort, but would like to see more goals scored saying, “We have made some progress. We are a little better in the attacking part of the game, creating chances and scoring a few goals. We still think we can improve in our possession, especially against some of the better opponents we faced.”
The Commodores seem to get stronger as the game goes on, as well. In the second period, they have scored 8 of their 13 goals, 39 of their 76 shots, and my personal favorite 33 of their 58 fouls.
Opponents struggle against Vandy in the second period as well. They take fewer shots, resulting in a 60% drop in save opportunities. Taiana Tolleson and Lauren Demarchi has spent nearly equal time in the goal this season with 276 and 251 minutes, respectively. They have combined for 16 saves and 3 goals allowed.
Ambrose thinks his defense has improved, “Defensively we have been pretty strong from front to back but there are still some areas of improvement we need to address in these next few games [prior to conference play].”
Next up is Western Kentucky tonight and Georgia State September 9th.
Conference play starts at Florida on September 16th. The league is very difficult this year with four teams ranked in the top 25 and another three receiving votes. Ambrose recognizes the challenge but is excited to take it on, “I am excited to see us have to step up our level again when we hit the SEC. Its a very tough league this year and will require us to be at our best every game.”
Over all, he is pleased with his team, “The girls have worked really hard together and continue to progress.”