NASHVILLE – Vanderbilt extended its winning streak to nine games with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Alabama on Thursday at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex.
The Commodores’ nine wins in a row marks the longest such streak in program history since the 2005 team captured 11 straight victories.
“A win in this league, I don’t care how it comes about,” head coach Darren Ambrose said. “It’s about winning. This group is special. There’s something about them. They don’t know when to quit. They’re never beaten.”
The Dores (9-1, 2-0) and Crimson Tide (6-4-1, 0-2) enjoyed a back and forth game until Haley Hopkins put it away late for Vanderbilt. In the 84th minute, Leila Azari streaked up the right sideline and delivered a cross to Hopkins, who beat a defender to send in what became the game-winning goal. Azari now has a team-high five assists and Hopkins has four game-winning goals.
Hopkins scored two goals on Thursday, giving her a team-high seven on the season. Her first goal of the game came in 71st minute on a breakaway goal as she beat the goalie on a loose ball to kick it into the wide-open net.
“It took us awhile to get into our game,” Hopkins said. “We stuck it to them. They kept us on our heels for a little bit. But Olivia Simmons really opened up the game with her first goal, and I think that really created the momentum for us.”
Vanderbilt’s initial goal came late in the first half after Simmons stole the ball from an Alabama defender and delivered a strike just outside the box for her third goal of the season.
Alabama responded quickly to Vanderbilt’s first two goals. The Crimson Tide netted their first goal early in the second half and then scored 30 seconds after Hopkins’ first goal of the game.
Once again, Lauren Demarchi got the start in goal for the Dores recorded a perfect first half, making two saves. Taiana Tolleson had a very busy second half. She claimed five saves and ended up getting the win to move to 3-1 on the season.
The Dores will go on the road this Sunday in search of their 10th straight victory when they face Missouri. The game, which starts at 1 p.m. CT, can be viewed on SEC Network+.