NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Haley Hopkins’ goal in the 78th minute completed a memorable comeback and a 3-2 win for Vanderbilt over Kentucky on Sunday at the Vanderbilt Soccer/Lacrosse Complex.
The Commodores (1-0, 1-0 SEC) trailed 2-0 at the break, then scored three times in the second half to win their season-opener. Hopkins’ two scores sandwiched a game-tying score from Blue Ellis.
With the matched knotted at 2-2, Olivia Simmons won possession in the Kentucky box. Finding nowhere to go, she played the ball back out for Leila Azari on the right wing who sent a cross into the box.
Hopkins was on the other end and climbed her defender to head the ball into the back of the net.
Vanderbilt will remain in state this week when it travels to Tennessee (0-1, 0-1) for a 1 p.m. match Sunday.
The Commodores had the game’s first true scoring chance in the eighth minute when Hopkins played a short cross into the box for Alex Kerr whose shot was saved by the right foot of Kentucky keeper Brooke Littman.
The Wildcats found the back of the net first when Vandy keeper Sophie Guilmette left her line was out of the box when Jordyn Rhodes found possession and scored into the back of the net.
One minute later Rhodes took a long ball from Marissa Bosco and raced down the left side, drew out Guilmette and toe-tapped home her second goal of the day making it 2-0.
Vandy started the second half on the front foot and in the 51st minute Kimya Raietparvar took a free kick from just outside the box and rattled a shot off the crossbar.
Hopkins then finally dented the scoreboard thanks to a long ball into the box from Amber Nguyen. Hopkins controlled possession, turned and fired her 28th career goal to cut the Commodores’ deficit in half with 37 minutes to play.
Ellis’ equalizer came in the 58th minutes. Madiya Harriott won the ball at midfield and raced down the right side of the pitch. She played a ball into the box for Ellis who took a touch a finished with her left foot making it 2-2.
That’s where the score stayed until Hopkins’ winner.
Vandy’s defense clamped down in the second half and held the Wildcats (0-1, 0-1) to just one shot. Kentucky also failed to earn a corner kick.