Commodores rout Georgia State 7-0 in home opener

Early goals from Ellis and Hopkins were simply too much to overcome for the Panthers.

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Commodores rout Georgia State 7-0 in home opener

Vanderbilt Womens Soccer plays Auburn

Vanderbilt Womens Soccer plays Auburn

Vanderbilt Womens Soccer plays Auburn

Vanderbilt Womens Soccer plays Auburn

Elias Ukule, Staff Writer

The Vanderbilt Commodores came into the game against the Georgia State Panthers on the back of two exhibition wins where they scored four unanswered goals to beat Belmont and Memphis. They picked up right where they left off in their home opener, defeating the Panthers 7-0 after a hat-trick from junior forward Paola Ellis.

Ellis, who already had a goal to her name in exhibition play, started a dangerous move in the opponent’s half by winning the ball high up the pitch. She slipped a through ball to redshirt sophomore Haley Hopkins who fired off a shot on goal. The ‘keeper saved but Hopkins latched on to the rebound and played a ball across goal for Ellis to finish into an empty net.

Head Coach Darren Ambrose, in his fifth year at the helm, described the goal as “a little lucky.” He said, “they gave us a goal very early in the game and getting that goal changed the game straight away.”

After a couple of shots off target, Hopkins would grab the second goal herself ten minutes later. A free-kick routine rehearsed on the training ground where junior midfielder Maddie Elwell slipped through a cutting Leila Azari resulted in a blocked shot and corner kick. Hopkins rose to head the ball into the net off Elwell’s corner.

The rest of the first half featured a subdued display from both sides, and chances were at a premium as most of the game played out in midfield.

According to Ambrose, “in the first half, we didn’t break them down that often. In fact, for 20 minutes they had the better of the game and we looked like we were all over the place”

The Commodores had a chance to score again early in the second half as a ball into the box was poorly cleared, falling to sophomore midfielder Peyton Cutshall who belted a shot and forced the ‘keeper into a diving save.

Vanderbilt would score with the next opportunity eight minutes into the half. Elwell jetted down the left channel and got past her defender to cut back for Ellis, who slotted the ball into goal for her second of the game. Ten minutes later, the Elwell-Ellis connection was once again at work as Elwell headed a ball down to set up Ellis’ hat-trick bagging goal.

Ambrose had some words of praise for his forward. “This is kind of her moment. It’s her time. She’s been on and off her first two years…But she’s a tremendous player and she’s learning to play within a structure.”

With 23 minutes left, Hopkins got a second as she got on the end of sophomore Ella Shamburger’s free-kick and headed into goal. With the score already at five, freshman midfielder Alex Kerr came on and curled in a beauty from outside the penalty box to make it six. Sophomore Mairin Boyle got the last goal of the game as she ran onto Ashtyn Fink’s through ball and poked the ball into the net with her outstretched legs.

The Commodores controlled the game for most of the match, scoring at will and limiting their opponents to few chances. In fact, for all the shots Vanderbilt had going the other way, Georgia State did not manage to trouble either Lauren Demarchi or Taiana Tolleson, who shared the minutes between the sticks for the Commodores.

Ambrose was pleased with the performance of his team. “The score-line is one thing but the content of the game shows you some other things too…It was good to get a shut-out and get some really good team goals.”

23 of the players in the squad got playing time, fully displaying the depth of a squad where the performance did not drop with several freshmen on the field.

Though tougher tests lie ahead, this display bodes well for what’s to come from the defending SEC regular-season champions.

Ellis, the hat-trick hero, thought her team laid down a marker. “It’s just awesome that we can send a statement our first game. We still have a lot of work to do but we know what our goals are and we know what we want to achieve.”

The Commodores continue a home stand as they face Evansville at the Vanderbilt Soccer and Lacrosse Complex 7:00 PM on Sunday, August 25.

 

 

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