Published: November 17, 2020
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Setting the pace with three first-half goals, seventh-seeded Vanderbilt cruised into the SEC Quarterfinals for the sixth consecutive year with a 4-0 victory over 10th-seeded Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, the Commodores (5-4) move on to the quarterfinals to meet in-state rival Tennessee. The Volunteers stunned South Carolina during the final weekend of the regular season to take the SEC East championship.
Earlier this season, Vanderbilt lost a 1-0 overtime decision to Tennessee on Sept. 27.
Vanderbilt scored twice in the opening 17 minutes of the game Sunday to get off and running. The first goal was setup by a set piece that Ella Shamburger sent into the box. With Leila Azari hunting for the ball, a Mississippi State (2-4-3) defender deflected the ball into the left side of goal to give Vanderbilt a 1-0 lead.
Just eight minutes later, Abi Brighton netted her first collegiate goal with a right-footed rocket into the right side of goal. After a ball she played was deflected back to her at the top of the box, she volleyed the loose ball to put the Commodores up by a pair.
Minutes before halftime, Sophia Gorski added to the score line with her first collegiate goal. Alex Kerr chased a ball to the end line and played a one-touch cross into the middle of the penalty area. With Gorski waiting on the receiving end, she one-timed the ball home to give Vanderbilt a 3-0 lead, its largest to date during the 2020 season.
Out of the break, the Commodores kept their foot on the gas and made it a 4-0 lead in the 55th minute when Shamburger played a long ball over the top to Maddie Elwell. She collected the pass and broke for the box, putting home a short-range shot to finish off the afternoon.
In all, Vanderbilt put 50 percent of its shots on goal in the back of the net, finishing the day with 10 overall and eight on target. In goal, Sarah Fuller made three saves to record Vanderbilt’s first clean sheet in the SEC Tournament since blanking Tennessee 1-0 in the 2017 tournament.
The four goals marks the most in an SEC Tournament game for Vanderbilt since netting eight in an 8-3 victory over Arkansas in the first round of the 1997 tournament. It also matches Vanderbilt’s second-most goals in a tournament game, matching the four scored in the 1994 championship game against Auburn.