NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Vanderbilt soccer team had not scored a second half goal all season and trailed Lipscomb 1-0 Sunday night at the half. The Dores would come up big this time, as they put up three goals in the final 20 minutes to come from behind and win 3-1.
Head coach Darren Ambrose was pleased with the way his team responded from the first half deficit.
"To credit our kids, the response in the second half was what we hoped for," said Ambrose. "At halftime we made some comments on where we should be playing the game and clearly it changed. In the second half I thought we deserved everything that we got."
In the first half, the opportunities were hard to come by for either team.
Lipscomb would be the first to break through in the 19th minute on a play set up by forward Jordan Walsh. She brought the ball up the middle of field into the Bisons attacking third and sent a pass into the box. Jade Abarca slipped by her defender, made one touch with the ball then sent it past Kaitlyn Fahrner for the game's opening goal.
The Dores had eight shots in the opening 45 minutes but were only able to get one on net.
In the second half, the Commodores made the necessary adjustments and eventually the floodgates opened in the last 20 minutes.
Friday night's hero Olivia Simmons had a throw in from the left side of the field in the 70th minute. She sent it high into the box where neither a Commodore nor Bison could get clean possession on it until it found Lydia Simmons. Simmons made the most of the chance right in front of goal and tapped it in for the equalizer.
Less than a minute later, it was Olivia Simmons again with a throw in to start the opportunity for the Dores. This time her throw found the head of Stephanie Amack who sent the ball far post past the goalie for the go-ahead goal.
The Bisons would look to find an equalizer of their own but in the process, defender Ellen Lundy would pick up her second yellow card of the game in the 81st minute and was sent off. That left the Bisons with 10 players on the field in hopes of tying the match.
In the closing minutes, Leila Azari made a run up the right side of the pitch and passed the last Bison defender as she made a turn towards the box. It was just her and the keeper but Azari made the heady play and passed the ball towards the far post where Jackie Welch would send it home for the insurance goal to seal the 3-1 win.
"I thought Leila Azari was the player of the game for us," stated Ambrose. "I think she is one of the most dangerous 1v1 players on the team. She also has great vision and that showed at the end."
The Commodores got some key players back Sunday night as Lydia Simmons and Cristina De Zeeuw both returned following injuries. Simmons missed the last two contests while De Zeeuw has not seen action since the second half of the Boston College match.
"It was great to have them back tonight," said Ambrose. "We were talking about it during the game that the tough part about it was neither of them practiced for two weeks. It was good to have their presence on the field."
The Dores got another superb game in net from Kaitlyn Fahrner. Following the opening goal, she kept the Bisons off the board and helped get the team back into the game. This was the seventh match this season she has given up one goal or less.
The Commodores will have the week off to prepare for conference play to begin. They hit the road next Sunday to start SEC play and take on LSU. That game is set for a 4 pm CT start and will be broadcast on the SEC Network +.