Last fall, Vanderbilt soccer reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 and won an NCAA Tournament match for the first time since 1998. This spring, the Commodores begin what they hope is a journey back to that same destination with five spring matches on the schedule, beginning this week.
Head coach Darren Ambrose enters his fourth season leading the Dores, who return six of 11 starters from 2017 and 62 percent of the team’s goal scoring.
“With the loss of seven seniors, there is a lot of opportunity for this young group,” Ambrose said. “That’s what’s special about college sports. Every year people leave and younger players get the opportunity to step up.”
Attacker Simone Charley, midfielder Lydia Simmons and defender Cristina De Zeeuw headline the departures as four-year contributors, creating opportunities for the Commodores’ younger players, many of whom claimed playing time as newcomers in 2017.
“We need to figure out how we want to play with the departure of such influential playing personalities to graduation,” Ambrose said. “We have a lot of attacking options but really need to solidify our overall team defending. Our goal is still to work hard at what we do and to compete every time the opportunity presents itself in training or games.”
The first of five intercollegiate matches on Vanderbilt’s 2018 spring schedule is Sunday at 5 p.m. against Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro. Vanderbilt’s lone home match is the spring finale vs. Belmont on Saturday, April 14 at noon on the Vanderbilt Recreation Center’s outdoor field.
With practice back in session and a challenging schedule ahead, the Dores begin their journey back to the postseason.
Vanderbilt Soccer Spring 2018 Match Schedule
Sunday, March 18 at Middle Tennessee, 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 25 at Louisville, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, March 28 at Lipscomb, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 7 at Memphis, 12 p.m.
Saturday, April 14 vs. Belmont 12 p.m. (Vanderbilt Rec Center Outdoor Field)