Aug. 24, 2014
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – In the season opener, the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team fired off a bevy of shots.
On Sunday, opportunities were far fewer.
Less than 48 hours after opening the 2014 season with a win, the Commodores mustered just three shots in a 3-0 loss to Rutgers in the first road game of the season. The Scarlet Knights scored all three goals in the second half and outshot Vanderbilt 19-3.
“We knew this would be a tough test coming here to play,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Greene said. “We wanted to put our team up to the test. We still played pretty well against a good Rutgers team on the road. The second half was a different story We stopped battling when we got down 1-0, and that is absolutely unacceptable.”
After recording 25 shots in a 1-0 victory over Mercer on Friday, Vanderbilt faced a quick turnaround. The team boarded a plane early Saturday afternoon and flew nearly 900 miles to play Rutgers, an NCAA Tournament team a year ago.
The Commodores (1-1) and the Scarlet Knights (2-0) played an evenly match first half. Neither team scored over the first 45 minutes. Rutgers outshot Vanderbilt 6-2 in the opening half but freshman Christiana Ogunsami, playing in her native state of New Jersey, made three saves.
Forward Simone Charley had the team’s best chance at scoring in the 14th minute. She kept playing through a play that looked like an easy pickup for Rutgers goalie Casey Murphy and knocked the ball loose. But her header was cleared away by a Rutgers defender at the goal line.
“It was a great chance in the first half,” Greene said. “She created something out of nothing. Going into halftime with the lead could have been a different story.”
After halftime, Rutgers proved to be the aggressor, outshooting Vanderbilt 13-1. Stefanie Scholz broke up a scoreless tie in the 51st minute on a goal to the right of a diving Ogunsami. It was the first goal Ogunsami had allowed in her first 141 minutes of collegiate action.
Nearly 15 minutes later, Rutgers added insurance with the first of two goals by Amy Pietrangelo. After Rachel Cole’s header hit the post, Pietrangelo chipped in the rebound. In the 89th minute, with the Commodores stretching the field in hopes of a desperation goal, Pietrangelo added the final goal of the game on a breakaway attempt that slipped into the bottom right corner.
“We came out a little flat in the second half for whatever reason,” Greene said. “If we don’t give up that (first) goal… it was like we quit (after that). We were not sharp in the second half. We looked fatigued. That had everything to do with us. It kind of snowballed. It wasn’t just them. It was us. No excuse.”
Ogunsami made a total of six saves, including knocking away breakaway attempt in the opening minutes of the game.
“Christiana was very solid,” Greene said. “She made a couple game-changing saves to keep us in it.”
Along with Ogunsami (Cherry Hill, N.J.) , junior midfielder Andie Lakin (Wayne, N.J.) and freshman forward Colby Ciarrocca (Montgomery, N.J.) returned to their home state.
The Commodores will try to bounce back as they return home and host Cincinnati (2-0) at 7 p.m. on Friday in a game that will be broadcast online at SEC Network +.