And Then There Were Four

Red-hot Commodores meet Texas A&M Thursday night in SEC Semifinals

[7] Vanderbilt Commodores (6-4-0)
[3] Texas A&M Aggies (8-1-0)

Nov. 19, 2020 • 8:30 p.m. CT
Orange Beach Sportsplex • Orange Beach, Ala.

SEC Network

• Vanderbilt will ride its offensive prowess of late into the SEC Semifinals Thursday night against third-seeded and eighth-ranked Texas A&M in at Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Alabama.

• This will be the 12th all-time meeting between Vanderbilt and Texas A&M (Vanderbilt trails 3-8-0)

  • First Meeting: 1990 (W, 3-0)
  • Last Meeting: 10.24.19 (L, 1-2, 2OT)
  • Last Vanderbilt Win: 09.22.196 (2-0)
  • Last Opponent Win: 10.24.19 (2-1, 2OT)
  • Last Draw: —

• In his five-plus seasons, Darren Ambrose owns a 1-3-0 record against the Aggies.

• Vanderbilt earned the No. 7 seed in this year’s tournament and will need to win four games in eight days to capture the 2020 SEC Tournament title. The Commodores already defeated Mississippi State in the second round and took out SEC East champion Tennessee Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

• With a win against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt would move on to Sunday’s final against either No. 1 Arkansas or No. 4 South Carolina. Kickoff on Sunday would be at 1 p.m.

• Vanderbilt has reached the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament each of the last six years. In that stretch, it has also now advanced to the semifinals three times in the last four years. With two wins at this year’s tournament, it marks the first time Vanderbilt has won a pair of games at an SEC Tournament since the 1998 season. That season marks the last time the Commodores reached the SEC championship game.

• With the four goals, Vanderbilt has now scored four goals in back-to-back games against SEC competition for the first time under Ambrose. Last time Vanderbilt posted an offensive barrage against SEC foes like this was in 2013 when it scored four against Arkansas and five against Mississippi State across a three-day span.

• Setting the pace early again last time out, Vanderbilt scored twice in the opening 20 minutes to guide Vanderbilt to the 4-2 victory over Tennessee on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. Maddie Elwell scored her second goal in as many games, netting the game’s opening goal before Leila Azari scored her second goal of the year to put Vandy up 2-0. While Tennessee cut the lead in half in the 23rd minute, Kimya Raietparvar nailed a penalty kick early in the second half to go up 3-1 and Raegan Kelley put the game away by giving the Dores a 4-1 lead.

• The four goals in both SEC Tournament games thus far mark the most in an SEC Tournament game for Vanderbilt since netting eight in an 8-3 victory over Arkansas in the first round of the 1997 tournament. It also matches Vanderbilt’s second-most goals in a tournament game, matching the four scored in the 1994 championship game against Auburn.

• Earning postseason SEC honors, Haley Hopkins was named a First Team All-SEC honoree last Thursday for the second time in her career while Ella Shamburger and Maddie Elwell earned second-straight Second Team All-SEC honors. Abi Brighton rounded out Vanderbilt’s postseason honors by earning SEC All-Freshman accolades.

• Prior to the regular-season  finale, Vanderbilt honored 10 seniors in Haley Hopkins, Olivia Simmons, Kayla Eason, Maddie Elwell, Myra Konte, Leila Azari, Blue Ellis, Sarah Fuller, Madiya Harriott and Rebecca Rossett. The 2020 senior class owns a 49-20-5 record, which is good for a .696 winning percentage. The percentage thus far marks the best winning percentage by a four-year class in program history, topping the previous bests of .665 in 1997 and .663 just last year in 2019. Overall, this marks the 10th senior class in program history to win at least 47 games. Only seven classes have won at least 50 games, and the 2019 senior class was the first to reach the 50-win mark (52) since six classes in a row reached the number from 1995 to 2000.

• Now in his sixth season leading Vanderbilt soccer, Darren Ambrose has guided one of the best five-year runs in program history. The Dores have amassed a 67-37-10 record and 33-20-7 SEC mark during his tenure. Twelve of those wins are over ranked opponents. Vanderbilt has three appearances in the NCAA Tournament, an SEC regular season championship and an East Division championship under his leadership. Ambrose is the first Vanderbilt head coach in 21 years to have three consecutive double-digit win seasons (2017-19).