The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

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 draws against No. 20 Northwestern in thrilling rematch

A strong second half performance and late heroics from Ella Eggleston earned Vanderbilt a draw against Northwestern.
Ella+Eggleston+takes+on+a+Northwestern+defender%2C+as+photographed+on+Sept.+3%2C+2023.+%28Vanderbilt+Hustler%2FOphelia+Lu%29
Ophelia Lu
Ella Eggleston takes on a Northwestern defender, as photographed on Sept. 3, 2023. (Vanderbilt Hustler/Ophelia Lu)

In a rematch of last year’s NCAA tournament, Vanderbilt rode a strong second half performance to earn a 3-3 draw against the undefeated No. 20 Northwestern Wildcats on Sunday afternoon. After falling behind 3-1 in the first half, the Commodores clawed back with two goals in the second half. Freshman Ella Eggleston was instrumental in the comeback, contributing a goal and assist in the second 45 minutes to help Vanderbilt walk away from the afternoon with a point. 

“She’ll do whatever it takes to compete in any moment, whether it’s score a goal or defend,” head coach Darren Ambrose said of Eggleston’s performance. “She doesn’t know how to play in anything except fifth or sixth gear. She plays with no fear, and that’s what that looks like.”

As they did in last year’s game, the Wildcats were the first to strike on Sunday. After a failed clearance from Vanderbilt’s back line in the seventh minute, Northwestern forward Aurea del Carmen latched on to the ball at the top of the box and curled an effort past goalkeeper Kate Devine. The missed clearance proved to be the first sign of the defensive sloppiness which would plague the Commodores in the first half. 

Despite the early deficit, the Commodores were quick to answer. Following a driven pass from Rachel Deresky into the box, forward Addie Porter turned away from her defender and struck a shot to the near post, beating goalkeeper Reiley Fitzpatrick and equalizing for Vanderbilt. The goal was Porter’s second of the young season and provided some momentum for the Commodores, who narrowly missed on two crosses into the box from Maya Antoine just minutes later. 

The stalemate was short lived, however, as more defensive mistakes from the Commodores allowed Northwestern to score two goals in quick succession. A strong high press from Northwestern in the 22nd minute led to Vanderbilt defender Ella Zimmerman being stripped of the ball by Northwestern forward Meg Boade. With Devine caught well off of her line, Boade calmly chipped the ball over the Vanderbilt keeper and into the back of the net to reassert Northwestern’s lead.

Just two minutes later, Northwestern doubled their lead from a corner kick. After a strong delivery from Boade to the front post, Vanderbilt defender Mia Castillo erroneously headed the ball into the center of the box. The ball fell kindly to Northwestern forward Ella Hase at the penalty spot, who calmly slotted the ball past Devine to double the Wildcats’ lead. After doing well to equalize, defensive mistakes from the Commodores put them two goals behind in the game’s first 25 minutes. 

Despite leading comfortably, the Wildcats continued to pressure the Commodores high up the pitch as the first half went on, dominating possession for large periods. Darting runs from Hase down the left wing caused issues for the Commodores defensively, but Vanderbilt’s back line did well to clear the danger. Vanderbilt’s nearest chances of the half came with time winding down in the half as Francesca Yanchuk had consecutive shots in the box blocked by Northwestern. 

The Commodores came out of the gates with a newfound intensity in the second half, cutting into Northwestern’s lead within five minutes. After two near misses from Ella Eggleston and Castillo, Vanderbilt found their answer from midfielder Courtney Jones. After receiving the ball from Jones on the right wing, Eggleston cut across the box and played the ball back to a streaking Jones near the edge of the box. After taking a touch to her left, Jones cooly placed the ball in the bottom left corner, giving the Commodores life early in the second half. 

With Vanderbilt now dominating the game’s proceedings, Eggleston became an attacking force. The freshman forward nearly equalized twice for the Commodores early in the half, having an offsides goal disallowed and narrowly missing an attempt from within six yards. Despite mounting pressure through the opening part of the half, Vanderbilt trailed as the match approached the seventieth minute.

Unfortunately for the Commodores, they were unable to sustain their dominance as the second half wore on. As they did in the first half, the Wildcats grew into the game more, holding more of the ball and remaining composed when playing through Vanderbilt’s press. With time winding down, Vanderbilt’s chances of finding a second equalizer looked bleak. 

And then, Eggleston provided some late magic for the Commodores in the 85th minute. After picking up the ball on the left wing, Alex Wagner swung in a cross headed towards the penalty box. Eggleston was the first to meet the ball, beating the keeper and chipping it with her left foot into the back of the net. With her team-leading third goal of the season, Eggleston once again showed her promise as Vanderbilt’s striker of the future.

“In that second half, we made a choice not to let that score stand,” Eggleston said after the match. “We weren’t going to let them walk all over us.”

Now sitting at 3-0-3 on the season, the Commodores will look to continue their unbeaten streak on Sep. 7, when they take on Ball State at home.

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About the Contributors
Anish Mago, Deputy Sports Editor
Anish Mago ('24) is from West Windsor, N.J., and is studying economics and political science in the College of Arts and Science. He previously served as a staff writer for the Sports section. When not writing for The Hustler, Anish enjoys playing basketball and rooting for all Philly sports. He can be reached at .
Ophelia Lu, Deputy Photography Director
Ophelia Lu (’26) is from Los Angeles and is double majoring in biomedical and electrical engineering in the School of Engineering. She previously served as a staff photographer. When not covering events and sports games for The Hustler, you can find her listening to a lot of music, studying at Starbucks or lying on Alumni lawn. She can be reached at [email protected].
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