Soccer: Vanderbilt 3 Alabama 1

NASHVILLE- Vanderbilt's soccer team won its Southeastern Conference home opener against Alabama, 3-1, Friday night at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex.

The Commodores extended their unbeaten streak to eight games and improved to 6-1-4 on the year and 2-0-1 in SEC, while the Crimson Tide fell to 4-7 overall and 0-3 in conference action.

"I feel good about the win," said Vanderbilt head coach Ronnie Coveleskie. "In this conference, every game is competitive and every game counts. So we just have to continue working hard. I'd rather be 3-0, honestly, but we feel confident and good about where we are at."

The Commodores took an early lead when Amy Baumann scored her first goal of the year at the 17 minute mark, with an assist from Monica Buff.

The Vandy defense held Alabama scoreless through the first half and limited the Tide to just two shots.

Vanderbilt extended the lead to 2-0 in the 68th minute when Lea Lafield made some nifty moves near the goal and scored her fourth goal of the year.

Goalkeeper Tyler Griffin narrowly missed setting a new Vanderbilt career shut-out record when Alabama's Gillian Kilburn netted the Tide's only goal at the 76 minute mark. Griffin entered the game with 28 career shutouts and her next one will break the school record.

"To be honest, that record probably means more to all of us than it does to Tyler," said Coveleskie. "She is a really humble goalkeeper. All Tyler is concerned about is making sure that we keep getting wins so I'm sure she is perfectly happy tonight."

The Commodores came right back after the Tide scored and pushed the advantage back to two when Nicole Lukens scored her third goal of the year on a header from five yards out.

Amy Baumann, Sarah Dennis and Lea Lafield led the offensive attack, combining for 14 shots. By the end of the contest, VU racked up a 22 to 8 shot advantage.

"We've spent a lot of time this past week and a half working on scoring goals and getting good scoring opportunities," added Coveleskie. "I think that we have always managed to secure for ourselves good chances, but it is just a matter of putting our chances in the back of the net. And I think our work paid off tonight. I really am proud of this team tonight. I think we scored three great goals."

The Commodores will take on Auburn on Sunday at 2 p.m. for their second contest in a four game homestand. VU will look for a couple of milestones as Griffin and her teammates will attempt to get the school shutout record, while Coveleskie will shoot for her 50th win as the Commodore head coach.

"We've got to enjoy this but we need to turn around quickly and refocus. We've got a really tough game on Sunday against a very good Auburn team," Coveleskie concluded.

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