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Soccer Preview and Game Thread: MTSU

The Dores are headed to the suburbs.

Amber Nguyen (11) cuts off a Lipscomb attack in midfield.

Vanderbilt’s soccer team failed to keep a clean sheet and failed to win for the first time this season on Thursday evening against Lipscomb. The 1-1 draw is the first blemish on what had been a stellar start to the season. The Commodores are now 5-0-1 and have outscored opponents 17-1.

Vanderbilt (right) was not able to control the ball so easily against Lipscomb.

For the first time since Purdue, Vanderbilt was not in complete control of a match. Every statistical category shows how tightly contested the game was. The home team managed only 2 more shots and were even on SOG. The possession breakdown also shows Vanderbilt possessed the ball in the attacking half for 23 minutes (26% of the 90) while Lipscomb was on the attack for 19 minutes. This section does not include fouls, but Vanderbilt was whistled 10 times to the Bisons’ 8. It was very physical and scrappy. I thought the official did a very poor job of controlling what was a hotly contested match from the start.

Vanderbilt tried to put their depth to use but could not find the game winner.

Raegan Kelley got the scoring started in the 7th minute on a partially deflected Abena Aidoo cross. It found the dangerous midfielder at the near post. Kelley put on the spin cycle and left two Bisons falling over themselves before sliding the ball past Graham and into the net. The rest of the first half did not have too much offensive action, but the physicality was high.

Lipscomb evened the score in the 47th minute. Kale’a Perry placed a cross to the backside edge of the 6 on a corner kick. Kate Devine misjudged it and tried to punch clear. She missed completely, and Logan McFadden headed down across the goal. It may have snuck across the line, but a deflection off Hannah McLaughlin left no chance for anyone else to save it. McLaughlin did nothing wrong. She just could not get out of the way fast enough.

Today, the Commodores face another local foe. They make the short drive to Murfreesboro to battle the Blue Raiders of MTSU. The hosts are 2-3-1 so far this season. Their season started with a 0-1 loss at North Florida. Their second match at Jacksonville was called off due to weather. The Blue Raiders returned home and dropped a 0-4 loss to #12 Ole Miss before playing to a 1-1 draw at Belmont. The last 3 matches have all been at home. They beat Mississippi Valley State 3-0, beat Austin Peay 3-1, and lost 1-3 to Tennessee Tech.

As you can see, MTSU is a low-scoring club. They have 3 players with 2 goals scored and 2 more with a single tally. The 2-goal club is made up of Eleanor Gough, Manon Lebargy, and Kirstine Lykke. Taijah Fraser and Cambell Kivisto are the other scorers. In terms of assists, only Lauren Spaanstra has more than 1. She has 3 helpers so far. Gough, Lebargy, Fraser, and Kivisto all have an assist to go with their goal(s). Idun Kvaale also has 1 assist.

The offensive struggles are somewhat understandable early in the season. The Blue Raiders lost prolific scorer Peyton DePriest, who had 12 goals and 4 assists last season. DePriest holds the C-USA All-Time record for goals scored (58). She was the C-USA Offensive Player of the Year twice. Sam DeBien (2 goals and 3 assists) and Taylor Hamlett (2 goals and 2 assists) were also important losses

Hannah Suder is the stalwart in goal for MTSU. She has started all but 1 match since the last 3 matches of her freshman year in 2019. Suder made a career-high 8 saves in last years game between MTSU and Vanderbilt, which helped the Blue Raiders win 2-1 on West End.

Tonight’s match starts in a few minutes at 5 PM CT. It is being played at the Dean A. Hayes Track and Stadium on MTSU’s campus. It was originally going to be aired on ESPN+, but weather concerns have it streaming on C-USA.TV for free (supposedly). I was going to attend the match but decided I did not want to mess with the weather, so I will be watching the stream with the rest of you. However many of you actually watch and keep up.