Vanderbilt had their first loss of the spring preseason when they fell 2-1 to Racing Louisville FC. The visiting professionals found goals to end the first half (43rd minute) and start the second half (48th minute). The Commodores had struggled to find their footing and deservedly trailed. Sarah Fuller was called into action repeatedly and made 7 saves in the first half. No details were given as to whether she played the full game or if Sophie Guilmette or Kate Devine replaced her for the 2nd half.
Darren Ambrose’s squad did make enough changes to claw their way into the match. Raegan Kelley got Vanderbilt on the board by scoring in the 67th minute. Her goal was not the first golden opportunity for Vanderbilt, nor was it the last. Unfortunately, the hosts could not finish off their other chances and had to settle for a one-goal loss in their final exhibition. Performing so well against a professional side is certainly encouraging for the spring season.
Vanderbilt will play 4 competitive matches before the NCAA Tournament starts on April 30th. The Commodores earned the SEC’s automatic bid by winning the SEC Tournament in the fall. They will be using these 4 matches to prepare themselves and earn seeding. They will open that slate today at 3 PM Central when Kennesaw State comes to West End. Vanderbilt will also host Lipscomb on March 21st and Memphis on March 27th with both matches played at 6 PM. The final match will be a trip to Duke on April 11th at 1 PM.
The Kennesaw State Owls did not play in the fall and are 2-5 (1-2) in the spring. They won 1-0 at Jacksonville State on February 12th, lost 5-0 at Auburn on February 19th, lost 1-0 at Mercer on February 21st, lost 2-1 at Georgia on February 25th, lost 4-0 at Lipscomb on February 28th, lost 1-0 hosting Liberty on March 4th, and won 1-0 at Bellarmine. The three goals scored in 7 matches have been scored by 3 different players. Kameron Downs, Erin Harris, and Kendall Higgs have all tallied once. None of the goals have been credited as being assisted.
If you need a reminder of Vanderbilt’s most impactful players, forward Haley Hopkins led the way in goalscoring with 5 tallies in 11 appearances (9 starts) while bothered by an injury. Attacking midfielder Raegan Kelley had 4 goals over 12 starts and scored a single goal in each of the final 3 games of the SEC tournament. Leila Azari was very impactful creating goals from her position on the right of midfield as she led the team with 5 assists. On the opposite flank, Madison Elwell was kept more in check with only 2 goals and 1 assist, but she is a very dangerous player for the opposition. Defensively, seniors Madiya Harriot and Myra Konte typically flank standout junior Ella Shamburger as a formidable trio. The defenders and Fuller behind them held teams to 1.17 goals per game from 8.4 shots per game.
Today’s game will be streamed on the SEC Network+ at 3 PM, so you can switch right over after the basketball game this afternoon.