Nov. 10, 2006
CLEMSON, S.C. - The Vanderbilt soccer team was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night after Clemson won a penalty-kick shootout 4-3. It was the 'Dores fourth consecutive postseason game decided on penalty kicks, all four resulting in the opponent advancing.
The fast-paced first half preceded an aggressive, yet scoreless, second half sending the Commodores to overtime for the 11th time since August. The 'Dores are 3-1-7 in overtime on the season.
"I told the team that I am incredibly proud of everything they achieved," said Head Coach Ronnie Coveleskie. "They broke school record after school record and they have accomplished so much from August until now."
The Tigers got on the board early, scoring at the 5:07 mark on a fast-break shot from the right side by Julie Bolt. Britten Meyer assisted the scoring play. Commodore goalkeeper Tyler Griffin, who earlier this week was named to the Southeastern Conference second-team All-SEC, made a diving save to her right near the 15-minute mark to keep it a 1-point game. Also named to the all-conference team were Amy Baumann and Katie Schulz, both second team, and Monica Buff who was named to the conference's first team.
The 'Dores tied the game midway through the first half when Baumann scored on a shot from the left side. Credited with the assist were Sarah Dennis and Meredith Kohn, who faked a shot from within the 5-yard mark, opting instead to feed the ball laterally to Baumann who punched it in.
Griffin made another impressive save with 6 minutes left in the first half, wrapping up the ball after a shot from point-blank range. The noteworthy footwork of midfielder Susan McAleavey helped Vanderbilt stay on offense much of the first half. Also worth mentioning is Commodore midfielder Amy Wilcox's aggressive play on defense, which foiled several Tiger attacks throughout the game.
The Commodores could not capitalize on multiple convincing offensive possessions in the second half, and survived several Tiger assaults to move the game into overtime. And getting the game into penalty kicks was not an easy task. Griffin made a diving save to her right in the first minute of the second overtime period, which under golden goal rules would have ended the game immediately. Ninety seconds later, a Clemson shot would sail just over the Commodore crossbar. Two minutes later, Griffin made another diving save to her right. It was the second game in eight days that ended in penalty kicks. Last Friday the 'Dores played South Carolina to a tie in the SEC Tournament, but were eliminated through penalty kicks.
Vanderbilt had 13 shots on goal and 7 saves in the game that is officially a 1-1 tie. Clemson had 15 shots and 3 saves. The Commodores ended the season 10-4-7.
"Clemson is a very intense, fast-paced team," said Coveleskie. "Tonight, my hat goes off to them. They played a great game with a lot of passion."
This is the Commodores' second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Last year they exited in the first round after Samford outscored Vanderbilt 5-4 in penalty kicks.
It was the final game for five Commodore seniors, Kari Boersma, Lea Lafield, Monica Buff, Susan McAleavey, and Tyler Griffin.
"I am going to miss this senior class terribly," said Coveleskie. "They came to Vanderbilt when I was selling a vision of what Vanderbilt soccer was going to be. They put us back on the national scene."