NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 2019 Vanderbilt soccer season is still months away, but it’s never too early to look ahead as to who will be wearing the black and gold for the Commodores in the fall.
Last fall, Vanderbilt enjoyed a storied season on West End, winning its first SEC regular season championship since 1994, its most games since 2015 and authoring a 13-game win streak during the season. Head coach Darren Ambrose garnered SEC Coach of the Year honors at season’s end.
This series will give an in-depth positional breakdown for the Commodores incorporating the returning and incoming players.
Vanderbilt returns five forwards from the 2018 team and adds one incoming freshman looking to the position group. Last fall, the forwards helped produce the most goals by a Vanderbilt team (46) since 2000.
Kicking off the forwards is the return of Haley Hopkins, who had the second-most productive freshman season since Laura Koerner in 1996. After just one season, Hopkins will reprise her role in 2019 with more career goals than any current Commodore on the roster.
An All-American, SEC Freshman of the Year and a member of numerous regional and freshman teams, Hopkins led the Commodores in every offensive category in 2018. Her 14 goals and 35 points rank second for a single season in Vanderbilt history behind Koerner’s 16 goals and 40 assists. She also tied for the team’s lead in assists (7) and had the most game-winning goals (7).
Kaylann Boyd was the Dores’ second-leading goal scorer this past season with a career-high eight goals. Boyd scored the first goal of the game against Florida from way outside the goalie box, helping the Commodores defeat Gators for the first time since 1997.
Boyd, who will be one of two senior forwards in 2019, has 12 career goals and six assists. She posted a strong freshman campaign and battled injuries her sophomore year, so her comeback in 2018 was incredibly key for the Commodores’ success.
Olivia Simmons started off the 2018 season with a bang. Through the first three games of the season, she compiled three assists and one goal. Two of those assists came on throw-ins, as Simmons cemented her role as the team’s throw-in specialist.
She finished the season with three goals and four assists, including the first goal of the game against Alabama in an eventual 3-2 win over the Crimson Tide. In 2017, she took home two Freshman of the Week Honors. Simmons ranks third among the forwards with six career goals.
Hannon Eberts provided an offensive spark off the bench for the Commodores in her junior campaign. An injury suffered against Kentucky ended her season prematurely, but she proved the ability to score and create offensive chances.
In her freshman season, she was the SEC Freshman of the Week for following her performance against Mississippi State. She scored the game-winning goal in double overtime, and she was in a three-way tie for first place on the team in goals with five.
Rebecca Rossett is another promising young forward who saw her sophomore season cut short due to injury. Prior to injury, Rossett had been earning more playing time and generating plenty of scoring chances. As a freshman in 2017, Rossett scored two goals and posted two assists after appearing in all 21 games.
She scored a game-winner on the road against Georgia to seal a 2-1 win for the Dores.
Vanderbilt’s lone incoming freshman forward is Ashtyn Fink from Las Vegas, Nevada. Fink is a four-star recruit, according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. She was the All-Southern Nevada Offensive Player of the Year and led her team to the 2018 Nevada State Championship.
The Commodore forwards scored more than half of the team’s goals in 2018 and will look to build on that production this fall.