NCAA Opener

16th-seeded Commodores open NCAA Tournament run against Penn State

#16 Vanderbilt Commodores (9-5-1)
vs.
Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2-1)

May 1, 2021 • 2 p.m. CT
WakeMed Soccer Park • Cary, N.C.

GoHeels TV

NCAA Opener

  • Opening play in the NCAA Tournament, No. 10 Vanderbilt will meet No. 9 Penn State Saturday afternoon at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.
  • Vanderbilt and Penn State have never met on the soccer field prior to Saturday’s game. The winner of Saturday’s game will meet the winner of top-seeded Florida State and Milwaukee.

How To Follow

  • Saturday’s game against the Nittany Lions will air on GoHeels TV and can be accessed by clicking here.
  • Due to social distancing guidelines and facility protocols relating to COVID-19, tickets are not available for Saturday’s game against Penn State.

NCAA Tournament Fast Facts

  • Earning a seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, 16-seed Vanderbilt enters the 2021 tournament looking for its first-ever trip past the second round.
  • The 2020 SEC Tournament champion, this marks Vanderbilt’s 11th NCAA Tournament in program history and the fourth in a row. With a fourth consecutive trip, it marks the second-longest streak in program history and is one short of the record five from 1994-98.
  • The Commodores hold a 6-7-3 record in the NCAA Tournament and are 2-2-1 in five games under Darren Ambrose. Of note, Vanderbilt is 2-0-1 in its NCAA Tournament openers under Ambrose with the lone draw a scoreless affair at Clemson in 2019 with the Tigers winning 5-4 on PKs.
  • Vanderbilt is one of three SEC teams to make the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons. The other two teams are Arkansas and Texas A&M.
  • Additionally, Vanderbilt is one of 17 programs in the nation to make each of the last four NCAA Tournaments. The other 16 teams are: Florida State, North Carolina, UCLA, Penn State, Duke, Southern California, West Virginia, Virginia, Georgetown, TCU, South Florida, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Santa Clara, Clemson and Rutgers.

A Vanderbilt Win Would …

  • …be its 10th victory of the season, giving the Commodores four consecutive seasons of 10-plus wins.
  • …be Vanderbilt’s seventh NCAA Tournament victory.
  • …give Vanderbilt its first trip to the Sweet 16 in program history.
  • …give Vanderbilt its fifth win of 2020-21 over a nationally-ranked opponent.
  • …extend Vanderbilt’s run of results against Top 10 teams to four in a row.

Last Time Out

  • On the road for the regular-season finale, Vanderbilt drew with No. 7 Duke in Durham with neither side able to find the winner.
  • In double overtime, Kate Devine made two stops in the closing two minutes that saved the game for the Commodores. The match marked Devine’s collegiate debut. She came off the bench at halftime in a pre-planned split of the two halves with starter Sarah Fuller.

Ranked Dores

  • Vanderbilt is ranked No. 10 in the latest Top Drawer Soccer poll. It also checks in at No. 16 in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
  • Vanderbilt was as high as No. 4 in the Top Drawer poll and No. 6 in the United Soccer Coaches poll before its loss to No. 17 Memphis.
  • Previously, Vanderbilt’s highest ranking in program history was No. 7 during the 2018 season in both polls.
  • Of note, Penn State is ranked No. 9 in this week’s United Soccer Coaches poll and No. 13 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll.

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 70-38-11 record and 33-20-7 SEC mark during his tenure. Fourteen of those wins are over ranked opponents, meaning Ambrose has guided the program to 14 of its 22 wins over ranked teams.
  • To date, Vanderbilt has four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, an SEC regular season championship (2018), a tournament championship (2020) and an SEC 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 one more win during the spring season.

Looking Ahead

  • With a win, Vanderbilt would advance to play the winner of the Florida State/Milwaukee game. That contest is set for 11 a.m. CT at WakeMed Soccer Park before Vanderbilt/Penn State.
  • For more information about the 2021 NCAA Tournament, click here.