ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- LSU scored two goals in the games first 20 minutes and that was enough to hold off a Vanderbilt comeback as the seventh-seeded Commodores fell 4-1 to the second-seeded Tigers in the first round of SEC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon. With the loss, the Commodores fall to 11-8-1 overall and will now wait to see if their name is called during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday night.
"We were really excited to be Orange Beach to begin with but we were defeated by a very good LSU team today," Head Coach Ronnie Woodard said. "I thought LSU came out prepared and they did a good job of putting us under a tremendous amount of pressure early in the game. We had a difficult time getting out of an early 2-0 hole and we had to chase the game to find it."
The Tigers offensive attack had the advantage in the shots department on Wednesday as they outshot the Commodores 17-7 and held an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks.
LSU got on the scoreboard first when Melissa Clarke put the ball in the back of the net from six-yards out on the right side of the box.
The Tigers added to its 1-0 lead nearly 10 minutes later when Kellie Murphy placed a header off a far-post corner kick from Courtney Alexander into the back of the net, giving LSU a 2-0 lead at the 18:14 mark. Murphy's goal came from only three yards out as Vanderbilt's defense failed to mark every Tiger in the box.
With Vanderbilt trailing 2-0 halfway through opening stanza, the Commodores knew they had to respond before halftime and they did just that when sophomore Candace West headed a Molly Kinsella cross into the lower left corner of the net at the 27:04 mark. The goal was West's third of the season and second in as many games while Kinsella's assist marked the ninth of the season for the junior.
LSU extended its lead to 3-1 at the 41:25 mark, when Clarke scored her second goal of the game when she one-timed a cross from Malorie Rutledge and Amanda Carreno from three yards out. The two teams played the final four minutes scoreless as LSU took a 3-1 lead into the lockerroom.
The Commodores showed a sense of urgency and determination coming out of the halftime break but LSU was able to strike first in the second half. The Tigers pushed its lead to three when Banks capitalized on a one-on-one situation with VU's Bachtel. LSU's Rachel Yepez lofted a long pass over Vanderbilt's last line of defense to Banks and she found herself all alone with Bachtel before firing shot from 10-yards out into the lower far corner of the net at the 54:38 mark. Bachtel made a good effort on the strong shot from Banks but ricocheted off her gloves into the goal, giving the Tigers a 4-1 advantage.
Vanderbilt answered LSU's goal with one of their own, when Molly Kinsella drilled an 18-yard free kick at the top of the box into the upper-left corner of the net with four minutes to play in regulation. The Tigers' goalkeeper Mo Isom had no chance to stop the goal as Kinsella placed the free kick perfectly for her seventh goal of the season.
"I am real proud of the girls effort for the entire match," Woodard said. "We were still fighting until the final whistle blew at the 90th minute and that is something this team has shown all season long. This team never quits and I couldn't be prouder of their efforts throughout the season."
The first round loss marked the end to Vanderbilt's four-game conference win streak as well as snapping the four-game shutout streak which was the longest since the Commodores opened league play in 2005 with a 5-0 mark. The four straight shutout streak was the longest since 2005 as well.
Vanderbilt is now 11-10-1 all-time at the SEC Tournament and has played in 14 of the 17 conference tournaments since the inaugural 1993 season.
The Commodores will return to practice when they arrive back to Nashville as they now await the NCAA Selection Show to happen on Monday night. Vanderbilt was ranked No. 46 in the latest RPI and is considered to be a bubble team for the field of 64.
"We are hopeful that today wasn't our last game," Woodard said. "We are hopeful that the NCAA committee is going to think that we are one of the best 64 teams and invite us to the NCAA Tournament. We know that we are a bubble team for the NCAA tournament but we have high hopes that our name will be on the board come Monday."
* Vanderbilt falls to 11-10-1 all-time in the SEC Tournament * The Commodores have played in 14 of the 17 SEC Tournaments since the Tournament began in 1993 * VU is now 8-4-1 all-time in the first round of the SEC Tournament * VU is now 2-4 in the first round of the SEC Tournament under head coach Ronnie Woodard * The loss snapped Vanderbilt’s four conference game winning streak, the streak was the longest since VU opened league play 5-0 in 2005. * The four goals allowed was the second highest total the Commodores have allowed all season (5 allowed vs. Florida, 9/27/09) * The loss snaps VU’s four shutout winning streak. The Commodore four-straight shutout streak was the longest since the 2005 season * Molly Kinsella recorded her ninth assist of the season, which now ties for fifth-best in school history for assists in a single season * With a goal and an assists Wednesday, Molly Kinsella now has 23 points on the season. The 23 points ranks ninth in school history for points in a season