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 Soccer concludes 2023 season in a heartbreak, falls to rival Tennessee 1-0

Vanderbilt ended its 2023 campaign on Thursday night due to an inability to capitalize on goal-scoring opportunities.
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Alessandra Salvini
Vanderbilt’s soccer team huddling before their game against Tennessee on Oct. 26, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Alessandra Salvini)

Vanderbilt Women’s Soccer ended its season in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday night, falling short to in-state rival Tennessee 1-0. Heading into the game, the Commodores were the No. 8 team in the SEC and needed a tie to secure a spot in the SEC Tournament.

Vanderbilt was unable to overcome the Volunteers on Thursday evening due to not capitalizing on scoring opportunities. The Commodores missed an SEC Tournament birth for the first time in nine seasons.

“Tonight, we couldn’t find the goal and it’s been a microcosm of the season,” head coach Darren Ambrose said. 

The Vanderbilt defense started strong, not allowing Tennessee to get a shot on goal until the 50th minute. On the other end of the ball, Vanderbilt’s offense had many chances on net but was unable to matriculate many of its opportunities.

With just under seven minutes remaining in the first half, senior Abi Brighton delivered a beautiful corner toward the head of freshman Ella Eggleston. Eggleston responded with a header that crossed over the goal line. Eggleston and the Commodores celebrated, but the referee determined that the ball did not cross over the line. Vanderbilt’s 1-0 lead vanished and the Commodores fans responded with loud booing. The Commodores outscored the Volunteers 7-0 in the first half, but the score was 0-0.

“Why at this level in the SEC, as a women’s sport, we do not have replay in regular season games?” head coach Darren Ambrose said. “The video shows clearly, we have it on our own video, we have a camera behind the goal that we looked at. It was a goal. It was a goal. So why we don’t have an instant replay video review for goals at this level in this league is a little disappointing.”

The Commodores brought their first-half energy in the second half, getting strong shot opportunities early in the second half. With just under ten minutes elapsed in the second half, Amber Nguyen had a prime opportunity to give Vanderbilt a 1-0 lead. Nguyen sniped the ball into the top left of the net, but Tennessee’s Ally Zazzara hijacked the shot with her fingertips to keep the game at zero apiece. Rachel Deresky had an opportunity to score the first goal of the night one minute later, but Zazzara made another great save.

Tennessee struck first, with Kameron Simmonds scoring off of a Sizzy Lawson assist in the 59th minute. Just over twenty minutes later, the Volunteers had a prime opportunity to push their lead to 2-0. Simmonds had a breakaway and was one-on-one with Kate Devine. Devine denied Simmonds from scoring her second goal of the night and Vanderbilt remained in the game.

In the 88th minute, defender Maddie Baker came up into the Tennessee 18-yard box and tried to turn the tide of the game. The Commodores were denied and the hope on West End slowly evaporated. Although Vanderbilt outshot Tennessee 17-5, the Volunteers came up victorious.

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf, Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached at [email protected].
Alessandra Salvini, Staff Photographer
Alessandra Salvini (‘27) is majoring in political science in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of The Hustler, she loves live music, sports and being outdoors. She can be reached at [email protected].
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