Exhibition Opener

Vanderbilt set for first competition since hoisting SEC Tournament trophy

#8/5 Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4-0)
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Feb. 22, 2021 • 6 p.m. CT
Dean A. Hayes Track & Stadium • Murfreesboro, Tenn.


Exhibition Opener

  • Back in action for the first time since winning the 2020 SEC Tournament, Vanderbilt will take on Middle Tennessee on Monday evening at 6 p.m. in an exhibition at the Dean A. Hayes Track & Stadium in Murfreesboro.
  • The match marks the first of two exhibitions on the schedule for Vanderbilt this spring with the second coming Saturday at home against DePaul.

Our Spring Schedule

  • Vanderbilt is set to play a spring schedule that consists of two exhibitions and four regular-season games before turning its attention to the NCAA Tournament.
  • Selections for the tournament are scheduled for April 19. Vanderbilt has the automatic bid from the SEC because of its SEC title in November.
  • The slate sees Vandy play regular-season games against Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Memphis and Duke after exhibitions against Middle Tennessee and DePaul.

Last Time Out

  • Last time out, Vanderbilt captured its third SEC Tournament title and its first since 1994 with a 3-1 victory over top-seeded and sixth-ranked Arkansas in Orange Beach, Ala.
  • After Arkansas got on the board in the first minute, Vanderbilt answered in the third minute and Kimya Raietparvar’s fifth-minute penalty kick proved to be the game winner. For good measure, Abi Brighton added an insurance tally in the second half to give the Dores the 3-1 win that sent Arkansas to its fifth SEC title game loss in five years.

Noting the SEC Title

  • Vanderbilt’s SEC title is the third tournament championship in program history and the first since 1994.
  • After scoring 11 goals in eight regular-season games in 2020, Vanderbilt came alive in the SEC Tournament with a tournament-record 14 goals in four games while allowing just four.
  • Seven players tallied goals in the tournament with Raegan Kelley leading the way with three. Haley Hopkins, Maddie Elwell and Abi Brighton also added two apeice with Kimya Raietparvar nailing two penalty kicks.
  • Along the way, Vanderbilt took down three nationally-ranked teams and each of the top three seeds in No. 13 Tennessee (No. 2 seed), No. 8 Texas A&M (No. 3 seed) and No. 6 Arkansas (No. 1 seed).

Ranked Dores

  • Vanderbilt enters the spring season with its highest ranking ever at No. 5 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll. This comes after the Commodores were No. 8 in the most recently release of the United Soccer Coaches poll after the fall season.
  • Previously, Vanderbilt’s highest ranking was No. 7 during the 2018 season in both polls.

Some of the Nation’s Best

  • With Top Drawer Soccer announcing its top players in the nation, three Commodores made the lists.
  • Abi Brighton has been named one of the best 11 freshmen in the country.
  • Haley Hopkins and Ella Shamburger were named to the organization’s Top 100 in the country. Hopkins is No. 41 and Shamburger checked in at No. 87.

Since We Last Played

  • Quite a bit has happened since we last played a game …
  • Since her last game between the pipes, goalkeeper Sarah Fuller made history as the first female to play in a Power Five football game on Nov. 28 when she kicked off for the Vanderbilt football team at Missouri. Two weeks later in Vanderbilt’s rivalry game against Tennessee, Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power Five game by going 2-for-2 on extra points.
  • Since the end of football season, Fuller was part of President Joe Biden’s inauguration event on national television. During the event, the trailblazer introduced a fellow trailblazer in the first female to hold the office of Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris.
  • In January, Myra Konte became the first Commodore every taken in an NWSL Draft by going 30th overall to the North Carolina Courage.
  • Konte’s selection marks the first Dore taken in a draft since 2000 when Asta Helgadottir was selected by the Carolina Courage in the inaugural WUSA Draft after returning to her native Iceland for one season prior to being selected.
  • Konte will return to Vanderbilt for the spring and fall 2021 seasons before joining the organization that is now co-owned by Naomi Osaka, the defending U.S. Open and Australian Open tennis champion.

Head Coach Darren Ambrose

  • In his sixth season leading Vanderbilt soccer, Darren Ambrose has guided one of the best runs in program history.
  • The Dores have amassed a 69-37-10 record and 33-20-7 SEC mark during his tenure. Thirteen of those wins are over ranked opponents.
  • To date, Vanderbilt has three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament with a fourth coming in April thanks to the secured automatic bid, an SEC regular season championship (2018), a tournament championship (2020) and an East Division championship (2019) under his leadership.
  • Ambrose is the first Vanderbilt head coach in 21 years to have three consecutive double-digit win seasons (2017-19) and will make it four years in a row with two wins during the spring season.

Looking Ahead

  • Vanderbilt will play its second exhibition on Saturday afternoon back home at Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. Kickoff against DePaul is set for noon and will air on SEC Network +.