LEXINGTON, Ky. - Entering Thursday night's match, the Vanderbilt Commodores (9-3-1, 4-0-1) held one of the best road records in the conference. They kept that road dominance up against the Wildcats (6-8-0, 1-4-0) with a 2-0 road win in Lexington.
Following the match, head coach Darren Ambrose was impressed with the team's effort on defense.
"Overall I thought the defense was solid," said Ambrose. "There were a few moments in the first half that it got a little nervous but we adjusted at halftime. I think the back four; Grace Jackson and Caroline Saltmarsh were very, very good. They didn't give up a shot on goal tonight and I though Taiana rebounded well from the Missouri game."
Both teams held most of the opening possessions within the midfield and the Wildcats were the only team with a shot within the first 20 minutes of play.
In the 24th minute, the Commodores broke through the midfield and created a chance in their attacking third. Simone Charley took the ball up the left side and sent a long service into the box. Leila Azari settled the ball, took one touch to her left and curved her shot past the keeper towards the far post for the goal.
Following the opening goal, the Wildcats upped the pressure over the final fifteen minutes of the half and got some chances to find the equalizer. The Commodores stood tall defensively and kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard and without a shot on net and took a 1-0 lead into the half.
Going into the match, the Commodores were 5-0 on the season when they go into halftime with the lead.
In the second half, opportunities were limited for both teams due to the physical play in the midfield. Vanderbilt and Kentucky had yellow cards assessed to them both during the second half.
Kentucky's best chance in the second half came in the 71st minute as they had a string of three straight corner kicks. The Commodore defense kept the Wildcats from getting a shot on goal and thwarted the threat.
As the clock ticked down, the Commodores took advantage of a Kentucky mistake deep in their own field. Leila Azari turned the Wildcat defender over inside the box and brought the ball down the end line. UK's keeper came out to cut the angle off but Azari snuck it past for her second goal of the game to secure the 2-0 win.
The Commodores picked up their sixth shutout of the season while Taiana Tolleson earned her second clean sheet. Tolleson did not record a save on the evening but came up and snatched multiple UK crosses before the Wildcats could turn them into offensive chances.
Azari scored her first two career goals Thursday night after having two assists so far on the season. Charley tallied her third assist in the last three games on Azari's first goal of the game. The Commodore back line of Stephanie Amack, Cristina De Zeeuw, Nia Dorsey and Myra Konte would play the entire 90 minutes and limited the Wildcats from getting a shot on goal.
"It was a great feeling scoring tonight but I think it was a culmination of team effort from everyone on the field tonight," said Azari following the match.
The Dores head back to Nashville to finish the week off with a stiff test Sunday afternoon. The No. 9 Florida Gators come to town and will face the Commodores at 12 pm CT at the VU Soccer Complex.