TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Vanderbilt ended its regular season with a road victory over Alabama, 2-1, on Thursday night at the Alabama Soccer Complex.
Vanderbilt will head to Orange Beach as the No. 2 as the SEC Eastern Division Champions with a 4-1-1 record against teams in its division. Vanderbilt will play the winner of Alabama (7th seed) and Auburn (10th) seed on Tuesday at noon CT.
“I’m so unbelievably proud,” head coach Darren Ambrose said. “There’s no quit in them. There’s so much character, and they are so much fun to be around. I’m really proud of them.”
The Commodores (13-4-1, 6-3-1) closed out their conference slate with back-to-back road victories and winners in three of their final four games.
The Commodores struck first with Blue Ellis making an impact since battling back from injuries and making her first start since Sept. 12 against Chattanooga. She received a cross from Leila Azari for a shot into the back of the net in the 12th minute to go ahead by one.
Ellis struck again three minutes later for her fifth goal of the season. The ball was deflected by an Alabama defender off a corner and Raegan Kelley was the first one to the ball. She sent a pass into the middle of the box where Ellis fired a shot through the goalkeeper’s legs for the deciding goal.
Alabama got on the board in the 24th minute, but Vanderbilt shut down the Crimson Tide for the rest of the game.
“We defend really well,” Ambrose said. “Alabama is a terrific attacking team, and I’m just proud of our kids. They were under a lot of pressure this year. They’ve responded appropriately. We’re excited and the kids are beside themselves.”
Vanderbilt heads to the SEC Tournament for the fifth time in as many seasons under the guise of head coach Darren Ambrose.
“I think we have got unfinished business,” Ambrose said. “We hit a rough patch in the middle of the year. We lost a lot of kids to injury, but credit to the entire team. They stayed focused. We rode it out, and we found a little bit more momentum.
“I think we’re going down to Orange Beach like every other team and we have a chance to win it. So, why not, Vanderbilt?”