Cincinnati awaits 'Dores at home
Aug. 28, 2014
Game Notes | Greene Interview | Jarrett Interview
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Derek Greene doesn't expect a second-half lapse over the opening weekend to loom into Labor Day weekend.
At least that's not the vibe Vanderbilt's fourth-year soccer head coach has received in practice this week.
Instead of moping about a 3-0 loss to Rutgers, Vanderbilt has used the setback as motivation as it heads into the second weekend of the season. The Commodores host Cincinnati at 7 p.m. on Friday and then make the short trip to Memphis for a road tilt at 6 p.m. Sunday.
“I feel like on Tuesday they came back out with a really good attitude, a really good mentality even after a tough setback,” Greene said after practice on Thursday night. “They knew they didn’t perform well in the second half (against Rutgers)… I do believe this team understands that they have a chance to be really good. You just can’t play in pockets of 45 minutes at this level and be really good. I feel like we are learning from that and we just have to fight hard when things don’t go our way. We’ll be ready to go.”
The Commodores (1-1) got off on the right foot with a 1-0 victory against Mercer in the season opener on Aug. 22. Junior Jamie Kator scored the lone goal on a penalty kick in the 67 minute as Vanderbilt fired off 25 shots.
However, the momentum didn’t carry over to that Sunday. In the first road game of the season, Vanderbilt mustered just three shots in a 3-0 loss to Rutgers.
The Commodores will try to get in the win column against a Cincinnati squad that is off to a 2-0 start after wins against Samford and SEC foe Mississippi State. The Bearcats lead the all-time series 4-2 and this is the first meeting between the teams since 1996.
“They’re a real blue-collared team,” Greene said. “They’ve got some good athletes. They probably play a different style than Rutgers did. But it will pose a challenge in and of itself. So we need to be really good at what we do. If we are, I think we got them. But we have to be sharp tomorrow night, sharper than we were last weekend.”
The Bearcats come in 2-0 for the first time since 2010 after sweeping the opening weekend on the road. On Friday, Aug. 22, Cincinnati edged Samford 2-1 in overtime. The Bearcats rallied after allowing an early goal. Emily Elsbrock ended the game in the 93rd minute with her fifth goal in seven games, dating back to 2013.
Two days later, Cincinnati shutout SEC foe Mississippi State in Starksville, Miss. Katy Couperus scored on a header on a cross from Jae Atkinson in the 67th minute. Cincinnati and goalkeeper Natalie Smith (seven saves) haven’t allowed a goal in the last 170 minutes.
MEASURING UP MEMPHIS
Memphis went 1-0-1 in its first two games, also knocking off an SEC foe. The Tigers picked up a huge 2-1 road victory against Alabama on Aug. 24 despite playing with only 10 players for the last 75 minutes of the game. In the 15th minute, Marissa Duguay picked up a red card for penalty in the box, which led directly to an Alabama goal. The Tigers bounced back with two goals, one from Valerie Sanderson in the 49th minute and the game-winning header Nugene Nugent in the 71st minute.
On Tuesday the Tigers opened at home with a 0-0 tie after two overtimes against Lipscomb. Memphis failed to score despite a 23-3 shooting advantage.
The Commodores are 3-2 all-time against Memphis. Vanderbilt picked up a 2-1 victory on the road last year.
’DORES OPENING WEEKEND RECAP
The Commodores began 2014 with a 1-0 victory over Mercer in the season opener on Aug. 22. Outshooting the Bears 25-4, Vanderbilt dominated possession but didn’t score until the 67th minute. After Simone Charley drew a foul in the penalty box, striker Jamie Kator stepped up for the penalty kick. The junior fired a shot into the net right down the middle and to the right of Mercer goalie Christina Mursuli for the go-ahead goal and her third career goal.
Less than 24 hours later, Vanderbilt boarded a plane for New Jersey and a Sunday afternoon tilt against Rutgers. The Commodores played the Scarlet Knights, who reached the NCAA Tournament in 2013, to a scoreless tie in the first half. But Rutgers scored three goals in the second half, including the eventual game-winner in the 51st minute to cruise to a 3-0 victory. Vanderbilt was outshot 19-3 in suffering its first loss of 2014. Despite the loss, freshman goalkeeper Christiana Ogunsami showed signs of promise with a career-high six saves, including a stellar stop in the opening minutes of the game.
The Commodores bring a wealth of experience for a team full of freshmen and sophomores, which count for 16 of the squad’s 30 players. Twenty-one letterwinners return from 2013, including nine starters. The trio of forward/defender Kelsey Tillman, defender Cherrelle Jarrett and midfielder Erin Myers (a team captain) started all 19 games.
SEC All-Freshman forward Simone Charley started 16 of 17 games before suffering a MCL sprain. Forward/midfielder Sasha Gray started 18 of 19 games. Midfielders Jamie Kator and Andie Lakin each made 16 starts. Defender Taylor Richardson made 14 starts. As a freshman, Olivia Liebman started 13 games in goal after Alexa Levick suffered an ACL injury.
In 2013, Vanderbilt scored 37 goals for its highest single-season scoring output since 2005. The Commodores also averaged 2.06 goals a game — their highest average in 13 years.
Forty-three percent of that scoring returns in 2014, including four players who scored multiple goals.
SEC PLAYERS TO WATCH
Three Commodores were tabbed as SEC preseason players to watch — sophomores Simone Charley and Sasha Gray and redshirt freshman Lydia Simmons.
Charley, from Hoover, Ala., was an All-SEC Freshman selection in 2013 and returns as the team’s top scorer after recording five goals along with dishing out five assists. Gray, a native of Nesconset, N.Y., had three goals and two assists. Simmons, a Londonderry, N.H., native, sat out 2013 as she recovered from a high school injury. As a team, the Commodores were picked to finish 13th in the league by the SEC coaches. They finished ahead of Mississippi State, which VU defeated for its lone conference win of 2013.
After a stellar first year in which she earned SEC All-Freshman honors, forward Simone Charley picked up where she left off in a 1-0 exhibition victory over UAB. Charley, a two-sport athlete and All-American in the triple jump, accounted for nearly half of the team’s 24 shots.
The Hoover, Ala., native fired off 10 shots, five on goal, and scored the game-winner with 5:17 left to unknot a scoreless tie. She also had six shots in the season opener against Mercer and drew a foul in the penalty box, which led to the game winner. She also headed what was Vanderbilt’s best shot attempt against Rutgers but the shot was stopped on the goal line by a defender. Charley returns as the team’s top scorer and points leader after scoring five goals, dishing out five assists and notching 15 points.
She kept busy in the spring, too, by breaking the school record five times in the triple jump. She finished ninth at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships to earn second team All-American honors. At the USATF Junior Championship in June, she broke the school record again with a leap of 43-2.5 to finish third.
FRESHMAN TRIO JUMPS IN
The freshman trio of Christiana Ogunsami, Cristina De Zeeuw and Colby Ciarrocca saw plenty of time on the field opening weekend.
Ogunsami (Cherry Hill, N.J.) made her first two career starts. The 5-foot-10 goalkeeper made one save and posted a shutout in a 1-0 victory over Mercer in the season opener. Then two days later, playing just an hour from her hometown, she made a career-high six saves against Rutgers and didn’t allow a goal until the 51st minute.
De Zeeuw and Ciarrocca came off the bench in both games. De Zeeuw, a three-time all-state midfielder from Overland Park, Kan., logged 70 minutes against Mercer and played 64 minutes against Rutgers as a central defender. Ciarrocca, a forward and high school All-American from Montgomery, N.J., played 34 minutes in the opener and logged 32 minutes in her return to her home state.
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; Lina Granados, Colombia).
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