Starting On Time

No. 5 Commodores score three in the first 30 minutes to beat DePaul in exhibition


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fifth-ranked Vanderbilt tallied three times in the opening 30 minutes Saturday afternoon at Vanderbilt Soccer Complex on the way to a 3-0 exhibition victory over DePaul.

“I was really pleased with our first half performance in particular,” said head coach Darren Ambrose. “We solved their pressure pretty well and looked dangerous in wide areas. Our goals were developed through some excellent passing combinations which was encouraging to see and our finishing was very efficient. We left the door open in the second half and credit to DePaul, they fought hard and made it very difficult. We got a little careless with the ball and didn’t really play with the same intensity and focus we did in the first 45, but it gives us a few things to refocus on this week in training.

“Overall it’s a good, solid win with a lot of players getting on the field and getting a chance to contribute. We have a lot of things we can take from this game both positively and critically. Games provide us with the opportunity to test ourselves and learn what our strengths and weaknesses are and this game showed us both while earning a very good win.”

On the board in the 15th minute, Haley Hopkins scored her first of two on the day when she collected a ball sent over top of the DePaul defense by Mairin Boyle. Winning it through a Blue Demon defender, she settled and fired from 15 yards out to the left to give Vandy a 1-0 lead.

Her second of the afternoon came in the 30th minute when Ashtyn Fink slipped a ball through two defenders into the box. Hopkins beat her defender to the right and with a charging keeper, she one-timed a shot back to the left to make it a 3-0 Commodore advantage.

Hopkins’ brace sandwiched a Raegan Kelley goal in the 18th minute that put Vanderbilt up a pair. Hopkins fed a ball toward the top of the box and while Alex Kerr tapped it into the box, Kelley was racing in, took a touch and shot back to the left side to tally the fourth goal in her last five games going back to the SEC Quarterfinals against Tennessee.

The Commodores again circled all three goalkeepers in with each playing 30 minutes throughout the match. Each made at least one save while Sophie Guilmette had three stops between the pipes in the game’s final 30 minutes.

Back in action for one more exhibition this spring, Vanderbilt will host Racing Louisville FC of the NWSL on March 7 at 5 p.m. before playing its first regular season game on March 11 when it welcomes Kennesaw State to Music City for a 3 p.m. kickoff.