Heading Past Kennesaw

A trio of headers lifts No. 4 Vanderbilt to 3-1 victory in 2021 opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Three goals – all on headers in front of goal – across a four-minute stretch Thursday afternoon lifted fourth-ranked Vanderbilt to a 3-1 victory over Kennesaw State at Vanderbilt Soccer Complex in its first match of the 2021 spring season.

Scoreless at the break while outshooting Kennesaw State 9-0 in the opening 45 minutes, Vanderbilt (9-4) settled in and scored three times on five shots in the second half to win its fifth consecutive game going back to the fall season. The barrage of goals came across a four-minute stretch starting in the 66th minute when Maddie Elwell served up in-swinging balls to Madi Allen, Raegan Kelley and Haley Hopkins to put the Dores out of the Owls’ reach.

With three assists on the day, Elwell’s performance marks the second time she’s had three assists in a game wearing black and gold. The number is also one off matching the program record set back in 1990.



Earning a corner kick 20 minutes into the second half, Elwell sent a ball across the face of goal and Allen sent a powerful header back to the right side of goal, off a defender standing on the goal line and in for her second goal of the campaign.

Two minutes later after winning another corner kick, Elwell again sent a ball from the right corner to the top of the six-yard box and a charging Kelley directed it home to the left side of goal to make it 2-0 Vanderbilt.

Putting the game out of reach, this time in the run of play, Elwell collected a ball and dribbled down the left sideline before sending a cross into the box. Waiting on the other end was Hopkins, who headed it home for her team-best sixth of the season.



Vanderbilt possessed the ball 76 percent of the 90 minutes and allowed just five shots, two of which were on target with Sophie Guilmette making the only save of the afternoon. Sarah Fuller earned the win with 75 minutes between the pipes, moving to 8-2-0 on the season.

The Commodores will go back at it March 21 when they welcome cross-town rival Lipscomb to Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on SEC Network+.