Aug. 14, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Last year, Vanderbilt dominated its season opener against UAB, only to fall short. On Thursday, in an exhibition game to kick off 2014 on the first broadcast of SEC Network +, the Commodores once again outplayed the Blazers throughout this contest.
But, this time, Simone Charley made sure Vanderbilt would be on the winning end.
With 5:17 left, the sophomore drilled a shot from the top of the penalty box just inside the post to lift the Commodores to a 1-0 victory in front of a jubilant crowd at the VU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.
Vanderbilt, which just began preseason camp nine days ago, powered through a sluggish start to overwhelm UAB 24-3 in shots. Last year, the Commodores outshot UAB 19-6 but lost 3-1.
"We dominated that game," fourth-year coach Derek Greene said. "You outshoot somebody 24-3, you deserve to win. Last year, we didn't win a game like this. We would find a way to lose it. Our defense was rock solid - gave them nothing. We were combining really well in the attacking third in the second half. We were patient. And, then, yeah, just a tremendous individual effort by Simone Charley. She absolutely deserved that goal. She worked so hard and had chance after chance and finally stuck one. 1-0, you'll take that win any day."
The Vanderbilt defense, anchored by back line Taylor Richardson, Cherrelle Jerrett, Claire Anderson and Kelsey Tillman and defending midfielders Erin Myers and Andie Lakin, never let the Blazer offense get off the ground. UAB had just three shots, including only one after halftime, as freshman goalkeeper Christiana Ogunsami made one save in her collegiate debut.
The Commodores had plenty of chances to break through.
Charley fired a game-high 10 shots, including five that were on goal. Simmons, a redshirt freshman, showed off her impressive footwork and dropped in five shots.
But UAB goalkeeper Angelica Jimenez kept Vanderbilt off the board for nearly 75 minutes, making 10 saves. Sasha Gray had a shot just veer to the right of the net. Jamie Kator kicked a laser that blasted off the post. Charley had several good looks, including a header on a cross that the 5-foot-3 Jimenez snagged.
Just minutes later, however, Charley delivered the game-winner. Getting the ball up near midfield, the SEC All-Freshman selection dribbled through several defenders and worked her way into the penalty box. As she crossed inside the 18-foot yard mark she fired a shot with her left foot that snuck by a diving Jimenez and just inside the post.
"It went by really fast," said Charley, who is the team's top returning scorer. "I got a really good ball from one of my teammates, dribbled a little bit, got my head up and tried to finish like we worked on all this preseason... I feel like it is a testament to how hard we've been working this preseason. We've been putting in a lot of work. As you can see, at least one of them went in eventually. If we keep working hard, I think more shots will start going in."
Vanderbilt has a little more than a week before its next game - the season opener against Mercer at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22.
The game will once again be on SEC Network +. Thursday's game against UAB was broadcast online and the SEC Network, making its debut, also provided live look-ins of the game.
The game was carried live as the first broadcast on SEC Network +. A festive crowd was in attendance for the historic game. The band and cheer squads were joined at the game by Mr. Commodore. The football team also took a break from camp to support the Commodores.