Aug. 26, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. - Freshman Cheyna Williams scored her second goal of the weekend to help the Vanderbilt women's soccer team earn a 1-1 draw on the road against Oklahoma Sunday.
While earning a point on the home field of a Big 12 opponent might make most teams starting seven freshmen or sophomores ecstatic, Vanderbilt Head Coach Derek Greene had reason to think his Commodore side deserved a better result. Vanderbilt held Oklahoma without a shot over the game's final 54 minutes and outshot the Sooners by a 16-6 tally on the day. Still, the second-year head coach was proud of the performance of his young squad.
"From the outset of that game we wanted to find out what our team is made of," Greene said. "Playing against a Big 12 opponent on the road on a Sunday afternoon is a big test, and our team responded fantastically. We dominated possession throughout the game and it was unfortunate that we gave up a goal."
The Commodores took two shots in the game's first 30 seconds, but it was Oklahoma that broke through first. In the fourth minute, Annalisa Hall found Sam Howell in the VU box, and Howell's header gave the Sooners a quick 1-0 lead. The two teams would combine for only four more shots in the first 45 minutes, with three of those coming from the Commodores.
The Sooners opened the second half with a flourish, taking their final four shots of the game in the period's first 11 minutes. At the 57:47 mark, Vanderbilt equalized. Freshman Kelsey Tillman found classmate Cheyna Williams on a diagonal run into the box. Williams turned with the ball, beat two defenders and fired a bending shot with her left foot around OU goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire and inside the far post.
"Cheyna played well for us again," Greene said. "She is a handful for people to deal with, and as a freshman she's been tremendously consistent in her performances."
Vanderbilt had three shots over the final 20 minutes of regulation, but the contest reached 90 minutes without a victor. The Commodores controlled both overtime periods, but failed to find the back of the net. Vanderbilt had four shots in the first 10-minute overtime and two in the second, but the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
"Give their keeper credit, she made a number of great saves when we had some fantastic opportunities late in the game," Greene said. "And I have to mention the performance of our defensive unit: Kendra [Hendrix], Amanda [Essay], Erin [Myers] and Tex (Taylor Richardson). They had a big challenge going against one of the top players in the country, and our back line was tremendous today. They gave Oklahoma nothing."
Williams led all players with seven shots on the day, including six shots on goal. Commodores Kelsey Tillman, Andie Lakin and Ashley Oswald each had two shots. OU's Devonshire was credited with eight saves on the day. Five of those came in the final 15 minutes of regulation and the two overtimes.
The Commodores return to Tennessee for a pair of non-conference games next weekend. Vanderbilt will travel to Murfreesboro on Friday to face MTSU at 7 p.m. CT. The Commodores then host their home opener on Sunday, Sept. 2, when Gonzaga visits the VU Soccer Complex for a 1p.m. match.