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Soccer Preview and Game Thread: Belmont

Back home to take on a team from less than half a mile away.

Not in Kansas anymore. Home

Vanderbilt rescued a 1-1 draw from their ridiculously hot late-night tilt at Kansas. It was a very strange match where it felt like Vanderbilt struggled for much of the contest to be on the same page, but created danger whenever they could string a few passes together. The lack of chemistry can probably be attributed to three primary factors. First and foremost, the season is young. Second, they have a lot of pieces in different spots, especially with the shift from a primarily back 4 last season to a back 3 this season. Last, but certainly not least, there is a significant amount of shuffling pieces around to find the best combinations.

When you have players trying out new roles while incorporating a lot of changes, there are going to be growing pains, especially early in the season. Exacerbating the problems have been some injuries. Hopefully, the coaches are finding what fits best, and the pieces will start to fall into more permanent places very soon. Still, as frustrating as the performance in Lawrence was, the Dores were still the better team for much of the night.

For a team that looked out of sync, Vanderbilt still had the statistical advantage.

The visiting Commodores outshot the Jayhawks 17 to 6 and put twice as many shots on target at 6 to 3. Kansas’s only dangerous shot came midway through the first half on a long drive from the sister of Vanderbilt freshman forward Sydney Watts, Lexi. Devine comfortably parried the shot while diving. The Kansas goal came on a free kick from the 55-yard range. The ball hung in the air and fooled Sara Wojdelko. The ball went over her head after she had rushed out too far.

Vanderbilt looked very dangerous on the majority of the corner kicks, too. There were some clever set plays used, and the service on them was mostly accurate. They could have had 2 or 3 goals from them and were a bit unlucky not to get even 1.

The possession graphic is pretty interesting, too. The overall possession was very evenly split, with Vanderbilt only having a 51-49 advantage. However, in terms of possession time in the attacking half, Vanderbilt led 28.5 minutes to 20.2 minutes.

Vanderbilt got a surprisingly influential perfromance from Addie Porter.

The driving force for Vanderbilt was Addie Porter. She had 4 shots and put 3 of them on target, including the game-tying goal in the final minute. Courtney Jones was the setup artist though, putting her teammates in good positions multiple times. The freshman had the assist after bodying off a Kansas defender then spinning almost 180 degrees to drop a cross right on Porter’s head.

Porter had nearly been on the end of 3 or 4 crosses and had made effective runs off the ball almost the entire time she was in the game. She really should have done better to convert some of that danger into a goal or two earlier in the game, but she came through in the end. It will be interesting to see if the performance gets her a start or expanded role for tonight after it looked like Deresky-Eggleston was going to be the strike partnership moving forward.

Tonight, the Dores take on another Nashville team with the Bruins of Belmont coming to West End. Kickoff is at 7 PM, and there is no reason to think it will be delayed. The two have not played competitively in over a decade, which is surprising given the proximity.

Belmont was 5-6-6 (3-4-3) last season and struggled mightily to score. They only tallied 12 goals in 17 matches. They were tight defensively though with opponents only scoring 13 times. The good news for the Bruins is they have almost all of their attack back. The only losses from the scoresheet are Shae Doherty who scored and assisted once each and Mai Thy Nguyen who had a single assist. Whether the attackers have grown significantly enough to develop a dangerous attack this season remains to be seen. The players who produced the most last year were Leah Firsdon and Maci Pekmezian with 3 goals and an assist. Anna Sweeny also had 3 goals a season ago. Firsdon and Sweeny both have goals already this season while Pekmezian has an assist. Avery Nowak also has 2 assists so far after only have one last season.

Tonight’s match will be streamed on SECN+, or you still have time to get over the Vanderbilt Soccer and Lacrosse Complex to watch it for free.