NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Commodore women's soccer team took an early lead but could not get a result Friday in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota at the VU Soccer Complex.
Nearly 1,000 fans were in attendance for Vanderbilt's home opener, and the Commodores gave them something to cheer about early. In the 19th minute, sophomore CJ Rhoades sent a ball down the right side to senior Megan Kinsella. Kinsella beat a pair of Minnesota defenders, nearly dribbling into the six-yard box before rocketing a low shot inside the near post.
Sixty-three seconds later, however, the Gophers would equalize. Both inside the penalty area, Tamara Strahota found Shari Eckstrom behind the VU defense and Eckstrom finished with the same accuracy of Kinsella's earlier effort.
In the 36th minute, Minnesota would take the lead on a Katie Shelander goal. Teammate Katie Bethke dribbled along the right end line and found Shelander at the edge of the six-yard box. Shelander volleyed the ball into the side netting to give UM a 2-1 advantage.
Goalkeeper play was outstanding in the second half, with both netminders making three saves and holding their opponent scoreless. On the day, VU senior Rachel Bachtel made a total of seven saves, including a wonderful diving stop just three minutes into the game.
Friday's game saw the return of senior Molly Kinsella. The All-Southeastern Conference performer saw her first action of the season, entering the game in the 17th minute. Vanderbilt was without sophomore defender Amanda Essay, who suffered a leg injury during a mid-week practice.
The Commodores will have seven days before Tennessee Tech visits the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex next Friday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. CT. The weekend doubleheader concludes on Sunday, Sept. 5, when the Commodores play host to Southern Miss at 1 p.m.