The Vanderbilt women’s soccer season is officially over after the NCAA released its 64 team field without the Commodores in it tonight.
Six teams from the Southeastern Conference made the tournament led by regular season champ Florida and conference tourney champ South Carolina. Ole Miss, Georgia, LSU and Auburn also clinched a spot in the field of 64.
“Being left out of the NCAA tournament this year is disappointing,” Head Coach Ronnie Woodard said. “However, I am very proud of what this team accomplished. We made tremendous strides both as individual players and as a team.”
“I think that we learned some valuable lessons this season that will make us stronger, and help provide our building blocks for next season.”
VU (11-8-1) opened strong, jumping out to a 6-1-1 record after non-conference play but were unable to sustain that success at the start of SEC play. The team started 1-6 with the lone win a 1-0 overtime decision over in-state rival Tennessee.
After that start it appeared that the Commodores would miss out on the conference tournament for the third straight year, but the team came together down the stretch, winning its final four regular season games all via shutout. The winning streak and the shutout streak were both the longest in league play since 2005.
The late season run propelled VU from 11th in the SEC to seventh, ahead of the rival Lady Vols. The team advanced to the SEC tournament for the first time since the 2006 season and ran into SEC Western Division champ LSU. The Tigers scored two quick goals and went on to a 4-2 win in the opening round. LSU continued its run, going all the way to the championship game where the Tigers lost in penalty kicks to South Carolina.
The Commodores should be in a great shape next season with just one starter lost off an 11-win team. Senior Megan Forester had her best year this season, earning first team All-SEC honors. The defender also contributed offensively with two goals and a career-best seven assists for 11 points (third best on team). VU’s other senior Lindsay Ratterman was hampered with injuries throughout the course of her Commodore career and was forced to sit out her last season due to knee injuries. Ratterman was honored by her teammates with the annual David Elia 110 Award on senior day for her extra effort to be the best player she can be and continuously striving to work for the betterment of the team.
“One of the most disappointing things is that I won’t have the opportunity to see Megan Forester or Lindsay Ratterman in a Vanderbilt jersey again,” Woodard said. “Both players have been totally committed to our program and will be missed greatly.”
The two seniors will be tough to replace but with a solid nucleus in tact, Vanderbilt soccer should continue to rise in 2010.
“Now, after a short break to heal our bodies and minds, we will begin to focus our energies on the future.” We will recommit ourselves to improving as individual players and as a team and in turn, to winning championships.”