ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Vanderbilt’s Southeastern Conference Tournament run ended Thursday after a hard-fought, 2-0 loss to South Carolina.
The Commodores (14-5-1) now await their fate in the NCAA Tournament during the NCAA selection show at 3:30 p.m. Monday. The most recent RPI ranking released by the NCAA on Nov. 3 had the Commodores ranked 36th and had Alabama at 35th – Vandy beat the Crimson Tide in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Tuesday.
South Carolina advances to play Arkansas in the tournament’s championship game at 1 p.m. CT Sunday. The Gamecocks scored two first-half goals Thursday and held off the Vandy offense from there.
The first 40 minutes were a tale of capitalizing on missed opportunities. In the first 15 minutes the Commodores had two chances to find the back of the net, including a shot off a corner that hit the crossbar and then bounced down to the goal line before being cleared by the Gamecocks’ defense.
South Carolina (15-1-3) then countered and dented the scoreboard first.
Sutton Jones took a ball from Claire Griffiths in the 32nd minute and finished her strike to make it 1-0. Eleven minutes later Luciano Zullo broke away behind Vandy’s back line and took Lauren Chang’s pass in the box before scoring in the back left corner of the net to make it 2-0.
Vanderbilt took 14 shots Thursday but only one was on goal. It also won eight corner kicks.
The Commodores had only allowed two goals in a game twice all season before Thursday – and both those instances were double-overtime games (a 2-1 loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 24 and a 3-2 win against Marshall on Sept. 8).
South Carolina also held Vandy scoreless Oct. 13 in the regular season when the two teams played to a 0-0 draw.