Darren Ambrose got Vanderbilt back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 in his third season in Nashville. Last year, he claimed the program’s first SEC title since 1994.
The next step: getting past the second round of the NCAA Tournament, something the program has never done. 2019 marks the Commodores’ tenth appearance in the NCAA Tournament; three times, they’ve been eliminated in the first round, and seven times, they’ve been eliminated in the second round. Getting past that barrier is the next step.
Vanderbilt opens the tournament today at Clemson. The Tigers are 11-6-1 on the season, 5-5 in the ACC, and lost to Florida State in the ACC quarterfinals. (That they’re hosting Vanderbilt, a team with a record of 14-5-1, and 6-3-1 in the SEC, speaks to the vagaries of the RPI and, I’m assuming, the relative strength of the ACC and SEC in women’s soccer.) The Commodores have never beaten the Tigers in four tries, with three losses and a draw.
Should Vanderbilt win, their next game would be against UCLA or Lamar — probably UCLA, the #2 national seed.