NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt soccer team (9-4-1, 4-1-1) returned home for a tough challenge to finish off the two game week with No. 9 Florida (11-2-0, 5-1-0). The Commodores battled all afternoon but an early goal from the Gators proved to be enough before they added two more in the second half for a 3-0 win.
Following the match, head coach Darren Ambrose spoke on how tough it is to play from behind against a talented team such as Florida.
“They are incredibly opportunistic and it showed today,” stated Ambrose. “The difference in the match was that we had to chase the game in the second half. In the first half, I was pretty pleased with our effort. The second half was deflating because we thought coming out of the locker room that we could grab a goal but it was clear Florida adjusted and made us chase the entire half.”
The first 10 minutes of the game belonged to the Gators. They held most of the possession in their attacking half and peppered some chances into the box until they finally broke through in the eighth minute.
Mayra Pelayo took the ball up the left side of the field and sent the cross into the box. Stephanie Amack tried to head the service away but it found Deanne Rose who took one touch to her right and sent the ball far post for the game’s opening goal.
Following the goal, the Commodores settled into the game and took most of the pressure to the Gators. They moved up the field and kept the play in their attacking half for much of the final 25 minutes, which led to some prime scoring chances.
In the 25th minute, Olivia Simmons set up to send one of her long throw-ins into the 18-yard box. Amack was positioned perfectly for the throw and sent the header on goal but Florida’s keeper was able to make the save.
Then in the 32nd minute, the Dores had their best chance of the afternoon. Lydia Simmons collected the ball about 30 yards out by the Star V logo and sent it into the box. Olivia Simmons was waiting and headed it towards a wide-open Grace Jackson. Jackson wasted no time and quickly hit the shot for the equalizer but it was waved off, as she was called offside.
In the second half, the Dores kept trying for the equalizer until the opportunistic Gators took advantage on the counter attack.
Following a Commodore corner that went long, Deanne Rose started the Gator attack on the right side of the field and ended up with a 3-on-1 breakaway. Rose kept the ball as the defender played off towards the two other attackers. Tolleson came out to try and cut off the angle but Rose beat her far post for her second goal of the afternoon.
The Gators got one more insurance goal in the 77th minute. Gabby Seiler put home a penalty kick for their third and final goal of the afternoon to seal a 3-0 win.
Sunday’s loss was the first in conference play for the Commodores and ended their seven game unbeaten streak. They will stay in the top-four of the SEC table with just four conference games left before the tournament.
The Commodores will look to rebound next time out and they have a week to prepare for another tough challenge. The Dores will travel to Columbia, S.C. next Sunday for a battle with No. 3 South Carolina. Sunday’s match is set for a 4 pm CT start and it will be broadcast on the SEC Network.