NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt soccer will close out a four-game homestand this weekend as Arkansas and No. 10 LSU come to town for pivotal Southeastern Conference contests.
The Commodores (7-4-1 overall, 1-3-0 SEC) will face the Razorbacks at 7 p.m. on Friday and league leading LSU on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Vanderbilt went 1-1 last weekend after defeating in-state rival Tennessee 1-0 last Friday, before getting shutout for the first time this season against Georgia, 3-0 on Sunday. The loss was the first for VU at home, after going 7-0 to start the year. Junior midfielder Molly Kinsella scored the game-winner against the Lady Vols, marking the second straight year the Dores have beaten their arch-rival.
The Commodores had several opportunities to score against the Bulldogs on Sunday and worked on that among other things in practice this week.
“We revisited our roots this week,” said head coach Ronnie Woodard. “This is the time of year where you can lose a little confidence, especially playing in the SEC. We talked about how well we have played at times and how we can build upon that quality of play. We have had good looks on frame and good opportunities, we just haven’t converted them.”
Arkansas enters this weekend with a 6-3-3 overall record and 0-3-1 ledger in league play after losing to Auburn, 2-1, and tying Alabama, 0-0, last weekend. Erin Aubry is in her first year as head coach in Fayetteville after serving the previous four seasons as the head coach at Morehead State. Freshman forward Allie Chandler leads the team in scoring with four goals and two assists (10 points), while junior goalkeeper Brittni Williams anchors the defense with a 0.66 goals against average with six shutouts.
The Commodores lead the all-time series with the Razorbacks 15-6-1, including a 7-1 record in Nashville. Arkansas won 2-1 last season in Fayetteville.
“The Razorbacks have a new coach with quality players and come in energized as they are in the same boat as we are trying to fight for a spot to go Orange Beach (site of SEC tournament),” said Woodard.
LSU enters the weekend atop the SEC overall standings with a 8-2-2 overall mark and a perfect 4-0 record in league play. The Tigers have been dominant over the first two weekends of SEC action, outscoring their opponents 16-1 through four games. The Tigers cracked the Top 10 of the national rankings for the second time in program history on Monday with a No. 10 ranking in this week’s Soccer Times Top 25. The Tigers will take a school record seven-game unbeaten streak to Kentucky as they take on the Wildcats on Friday before heading to Nashville. Senior midfielders Melissa Clarke (seven goals, three assists) and Malorie Rutledge (six goals, five assists) are tied for the team lead in scoring with 17 points apiece. Sophomore goalkeeper Mo Isom sports a 0.56 goals against average with seven shutouts through 12 games.
The Commodores lead the all-time series with the Tigers 7-3-2, including a 4-2 mark in Nashville. LSU is 2-0-1 in the last three meetings including a 1-0 win last season in Baton Rouge.
“LSU is at the top of the league and has put up a ton of goals with a great attacking mind-set on offense,” said Woodard. “At the same time they haven’t conceded many goals and have played nearly flawless in the SEC.”
“Both contests are big challenges for us and we look at them as must win games,” summed up Woodard.