Aug. 13, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The entire Vanderbilt soccer team reconvened on campus last week.
Just eight days later, the Commodores are ready to be tested by outside competition.
The Commodores welcome UAB at 4 p.m. on Thursday for an exhibition game at the VU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.
"We're very excited," fourth-year head coach Derek Greene said. "We're to the point now where we have been growing the last three years. We've been growing from a leadership perspective, from a talent perspective. We felt like this was going to be a pretty good preseason for us and it's been outstanding. It has been the best one we've had since we've been here. This team is truly a family."
The kickoff to women's soccer season will also play a part in SEC history.
The tilt will be part of the SEC Network's launch party. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network +, the network's digital platform at secnetwork.com.
As part of its first day of coverage, the SEC Network will provide live look-ins on the game. The network is also sending reporter Jessica Mendoza and a live satellite truck to spotlight the game and conduct live interviews with Vanderbilt representatives throughout the broadcast.
The Commodores are inviting fans to come be a part of the historic day. As is the case for all nine home regular-season games, admission is free to the exhibition game. The spirit squads and Mr. C will be on hand to add to the atmosphere. The Commodores will be featured on SEC Network + throughout the season and three games will be aired on the SEC Network -- at Georgia (Sept. 21), vs. Texas A&M (Oct. 10) and at Florida (Oct. 30).
SIZING UP THE MATCHUP
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 11-3. The last time the teams met, last Aug. 23, 2013, UAB defeated the Commodores 3-1.
The Blazers went 11-7-2 in 2013 and tied for fourth in the Conference USA East division. Led by fourth-year coach Harold Warren, UAB returns 12 letterwinners, including eight starters.
The Commodores begin their 28th season, having amassed a 265-208-43 record.
Coach Derek Greene enters his fourth season as head coach after the Commodores went 4-12-3 overall and finished 13th in SEC play.
Twenty-one lettermen from last year return, including nine starters. Senior Cherrelle Jarrett and juniors Erin Myers and Kelsey Tillman were the only three players to start all 19 games in 2013. Sophomore and SEC All-Freshman selection Simone Charley comes in as the team's top returning scorer after scoring five goals, in addition to dishing out five assists.
SEC PLAYERS TO WATCH
A trio of Commodores were tabbed as players to watch for the upcoming SEC season, which begins Sept. 21 at Georgia.
Sophomore forwards Simone Charley (five goals and five assists in 2013) and Sasha Gray (three goals, two assists) were tabbed to the preseason watch list. In addition, redshirt freshman midfielder Lydia Simmons was also named a player to watch. Simmons missed all of 2013 while recovering from an injury.
In the coaches preseason poll, the Commodores were picked to finish 13 th in the SEC. Vanderbilt finished ahead of Mississippi State, which the Commodores defeated 5-3 for their lone SEC win in 2013.
COAST TO COAST COMMODORES
Vanderbilt's 30 players hail from 16 states (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington).
Two players were born in South America: Gena Inbusch (Brazil) and Lina Granados (Colombia).