Crucial Road Win

Vanderbilt battles back for key SEC East road victory at Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Equalizing in the 80th minute and scoring the game-winner in double overtime, Vanderbilt fought back from a first-half deficit to beat Florida 2-1 for a key SEC East road victory Sunday at Dizney Stadium.

“I’m proud of our response in our third overtime game of the season,” Vanderbilt head coach Darren Ambrose said. “We have been so close before but I am so pleased with how we have stuck with it and found a way. It says a lot about the ability of our team to handle the ups and downs of a difficult period for us and rebound like that.

Olivia Simmons and Raegan Kelley stepped up in a big way. Olivia was a handful up top and with Raegan’s movement off of her, I thought we were dangerous in the final third. This was a big team effort with so many players contributing and we handled the stage with poise.”

Myra Konte’s game-winning goal came in the 103rd minute when Leila Azari lofted a ball toward the back-right post. Falling to the feet of a host of players from both sides, Konte fought for the ball on the outskirts of the play and as she fell to the ground, she got her right foot on the ball and powered it over the line to give Vanderbilt its second road victory over Florida in as many visits.



Trailing 1-0 heading to the final 10 minutes of regulation, Kelley notched her first goal of the season when she took a feed off the end line from Abi Brighton and her one-timed shot beat Florida goalkeeper Susi Espinoza to the left side of goal to equalize. Kelley was an aggressive part of the Vanderbilt attack all night with her goal coming just 18 seconds after picking up a yellow card fighting for a ball.

Vanderbilt dominated possession throughout the night and had the best attacking chances of the match before breaking through in the 80th minute. In all, Vanderbilt finished with a season-high 10 corner kicks, marking the most in a game since taking 13 against Marshall last season.

Florida’s goal came in the 41st minute when a ball into the Vanderbilt 18-yard box got between two defenders and Maddy Rhodes found her way between the two Dores to tip it to the right side past Vandy keeper Sarah Fuller. Both of Vanderbilt’s wins this season have now come when its opponent scored in the first half.



Winning on the road snaps a three-game losing streak for the Dores, which was the longest losing streak in six seasons under Ambrose. The victory is Vanderbilt’s fourth against Florida in the all-time series, but Vanderbilt has won each of the last two meetings between the two in Gainesville and six of the seven meetings since Ambrose took over have been decided by one goal.

With three games to go in the regular season, Vanderbilt will play two of its last three games inside the comfort of Vanderbilt Soccer Stadium with its next match coming at 4 p.m. Sunday against Georgia. The Bulldogs dropped a 1-0 decision to Auburn on Sunday and are just two points ahead of Vanderbilt in the SEC East standings heading down the stretch toward the SEC Tournament.

In this year’s tournament, the top 10 teams earn one bye and the top four teams earn a double bye.