CLEMSON, S.C. — Vanderbilt’s season came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after falling to Clemson, 0-0 (5-4) in penalty kicks Thursday at Historic Riggs Field.
“I am heartbroken for this group of girls,” head coach Darren Ambrose said. “I thought they played very well and had the better of the chances. We got to give credit to the Clemson goalkeeper for the saves she made tonight.”
The Commodores (14-5-2, 6-3-1) held the Tigers scoreless for 110 minutes only for the game to come down to penalty kicks. The last time the two teams faced each other was in 2006 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament – Clemson would win that game in penalty kicks as well.
“I am proud of the season we have and how we have continued to show that this program is a contender every year,” Ambrose said.
The end of overtime resulted in Vanderbilt doing everything it could to score a goal. The Commodores hit the crossbar three times in both overtime periods and also had one shot saved by a Clemson defender that was bound to go in.
Vanderbilt wasn’t able to capitalize on five first half corners kicks and the two teams dueled to a scoreless first half.
The Commodores weathered a strong offensive push from the Tigers coming out of the second half. Taiana Tolleson made a big save with Ella Shamburger also playing keeper to make a team save.
Vandy goalkeepers Lauren Demarchi and Tolleson produced two incredible halves of goalkeeping. Demarchi posted three saves in the first half with Tolleson recording four game-saving saves in the second half and following overtimes.
Vanderbilt ended its season for the third straight time in the NCAA Tournament, the second-longest streak in program history. The Commodores captured the SEC Eastern Division Title earlier this season after battling injuries all season.
Vanderbilt posted 10 shutouts, tying last season’s mark the third-best shutout total in program history. The 13 goals Vanderbilt allowed all season is also good for the second-fewest amount of goals allowed by a Vanderbilt team.
Vanderbilt’s seniors ended their careers with 52 career wins, one SEC Championship in 2018 and an SEC Eastern Divisional program. They also had two representatives on All-SEC teams in back-to-back seasons – Nia Dorsey (second team – 2018 and 19) and Grace Jackson (first team – 2018, second team – 2019).
“I am also so grateful to our seniors who have elevated the status of this program in their time here,” Ambrose said. “The highest compliment I can give them is that they have constructed a platform upon which our future expectations are built.”