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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt soccer extends perfect start with 3-2 overtime win over Marshall

Despite losing Music City Invitational on tiebreaker, Commodores get brace and golden goal in 109th minute from Raegan Kelley
Photo by Mattigan Kelly.

In the most back-and-forth game they’ve played this season, Vanderbilt soccer rode two early goals and a late golden goal from Raegan Kelley to edge Marshall 3-2 in overtime on Sunday afternoon.

Had Kelley not scored deep into overtime, the Commodores would’ve conceded their first draw of the season, but the scoreline belies an otherwise dominant performance from the home team that had the markings of a win. As with all other games, Vanderbilt outscored its opponent, 33-3 this time, forcing 11 saves in addition to 13 corner kicks and 65% possession.

Possibly owing to the daytime heat, Vanderbilt rotated its squad more than in past games, with six bench players earning more than 30 minutes on the field and only one player, defender Ella Shamburger, going the full 109 minutes that the game lasted.

The Commodores had scored just three of their 15 prior goals in the first half and had entered the break 0-0 in each of their last three games, so the 2-1 scoreline at break this time indicated a more active first 45, particularly on offense, than what they’re used to.

For the first time this season, the Commodores conceded a goal and faced a deficit, when in the 9th minute a corner from Marshall’s Farah Abu-Tayeh flashed across the face of goal and found Mary Lawman near the back post to head it in despite goalkeeper Taiana Tolleson’s attempt at a save.

True to their offensive prowess, however, the Commodores took just 10 minutes to equalize. In a play remarkably similar to Marshall’s goal, an 18th minute corner from the right side connected with Peyton Cutshall at the far post in a crowd of bodies, giving Vanderbilt its own header goal off a set piece.

Vanderbilt secured the lead just seven minutes later, when a Nia Dorsey cross at the endline from the edge of the 18 connected with Raegan Kelley at the back and away from Thundering Herd goalkeeper Lindsay Langley for the third header goal of the game.

The rest of the first half was quiet, with Marshall not registering a shot after their goal and Vanderbilt fielding a couple promising but not convincing looks at goal. A backwards header by Marshall in the 34th minute fell to Maddie Elwell leaking behind the defense, but Langley was aware and came off her line enough to force Elwell’s chip over the bar. A 43rd minute shot from Madi Allen at the top of the box caught Langley flat-footed, but the ball had too much lift and zipped over the crossbar by a yard.

Vanderbilt threatened for most of the second half to add a third goal, but their buildups often lacked a decisive final touch and mostly failed to trouble Langley. A 51st minute cross from Dorsey found Grace Jackson 10 yards out in the middle, but the ball deflected awkwardly off her leg and bounced to Langley. The best chance for the Commodores in the second half came in the 64th minute, when a dangerous ball by Alex Kerr from out wide was punched by Langley and fell to Elwell at the far post, who had an open net but couldn’t manage a shot before Marah Abu-Tayeh made a strong tackle to deflect the ball out of danger.

The final 25 minutes of regulation seemed to feature more dangerous looks from Marshall than Vanderbilt. A bouncing ball off a low cross in the 67th minute tumbled around multiple bodies in front of goal before finding Marshall midfielder Julia Schukle, who had an open net on the left side of goal from five yards out but was troubled enough to sail the ball over the crossbar. Marshall’s equalizer came in the 78th minute, when a quick counterattack gave Farah Abu-Tayeh space down the left side, enough to fire a shot from the left side past Lauren Demarchi, Vanderbilt’s goalkeeper in the second half, and into the net in the far bottom corner.

On Marshall’s two goals and more threatening play in the final third than other opponents, head coach Darren Ambrose said, “The game’s really humbling. We go from where we’ve been and all of a sudden you’re brought to your knees a little bit. That’s what’s really cool about the game, you can’t get one step ahead of yourself, because when you do, you get bitten. And credit to Marshall, they almost bit us today.”

The Commodores tilted the momentum back in their favor late in the game, including with an 81st minute cross that gave Haley Hopkins and Olivia Simmons headers from close range, but neither were on-frame and the game ended 2-2 after regulation.

Based on Vanderbilt’s dominant play in the first 10-minute overtime period, the game-winning goal felt inevitable. Kaylann Boyd fielded a ground cross in the 95th minute from the left side and had an open net behind Langley from five yards out, but she skied the ball over the bar. Two minutes later, Cutshall nearly found her second when her 20-yard strike from the top of the 18 struck the crossbar.

The magic moment came in the 109th minute, just 85 seconds from time expiring and with the Commodores staring down a draw. Hopkins, who had been playing the second half on the right wing instead of her usual central position, slotted a menacing cross from the right to the near post, finding Kelley who lost her defender and slid to kick the ball into the net from close range. With women’s soccer operating on golden goal format, that score ended the game.

“Something we’ve really emphasized in practice is making your run in the box, getting in the box, trying your hardest to get there,” Kelley said about her goal. “We’ve been crossing and finishing a lot in practice, and that showed it today.”

On almost settling for a draw despite the lion’s share of shots and possession, Ambrose said “This team is capable of a little more, and I think they know it… credit to Marshall and their goalkeeper, the way they defended was really impressive.”

“To stick at it and to find a way with 90 seconds left is awesome. We’d clearly rather not be in this position, I think we’re a little too laid-back going into the game, I don’t think our mentality is quite right, and that starts with me. We try to change things up in training, try to keep it mentally fresh… but we can’t, as coaches, change the rhythm of what we do, and I think that reflected a little bit with the girls today.”

When asked about his team’s overall outlook after this game, Ambrose was more positive. “It’s all good, to be able to talk about these things right now, to be where we are as a team, learning every game, still finding a way to win.”

Perhaps a slight disappointment to the team, Vanderbilt lost the Music City Invitational on tiebreaker to Lipscomb. Both teams won both their games, but Lipscomb finished with a +4 goal differential and the Commodores +3.

Now 6-0-0 to start 2019, Vanderbilt will host Chattanooga at 6pm on Sep. 12 at Vanderbilt Soccer Complex before traveling to Louisville on Sep. 15 for their final non-conference game.

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About the Contributor
Will Fritzler
Will Fritzler, Former Sports Copy Editor
Will Fritzler (‘22) was the Sports Copy Editor and studied philosophy and political science. From Portland, Oregon, Will enjoys sports of all kind, especially his hometown Blazers and Timbers. He can be reached at [email protected].
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