ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- The Vanderbilt soccer team (12-6-1, 7-3-1) started the postseason off with a familiar opponent in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals when they faced off with in-state rival Tennessee (14-4-1, 6-4-1).
Having played a close contest less than two weeks ago, Tuesday's night match with a chance to go to the semifinals would be no different. The Volunteers looked to get payback from the result a few weeks ago but it was the Commodores that came out victorious 1-0.
Following the match, head coach Darren Ambrose was thrilled with the team's effort in the win.
"It was fantastic," said Ambrose. "Tennessee is a great team, they are a very, very good team. We talked at halftime that if we can just be a little bit better, we can make this a game and it is only going to take one goal. Our defending is very, very good, we are very committed, very organized and our kids stuck to the game plan."
In the first half, Tennessee took control of possession early and was able to push the ball up into its attacking third.
The Volunteers had two great chances at the opening goal within the first 10 minutes of play. Khadija Shaw had a shot in the seventh minute that rang off the post and back out for Kaitlyn Fahrner to scoop up. Two minutes later, Meghan Flynn took a shot from 20 yards out and Fahrner had to dive to her left to deflect the ball out of play.
The Commodores did not have much possession in their attacking half of the field as they tried to switch the field from the backline.
In the 40th minute, the Dores got their first corner of the match and looked to take advantage when Jackie Welch got her head on the ball and sent it towards the net. UT packed the box and it was blocked by their defender and sent back out.
At the break, Tennessee had a 10-1 advantage in shots but only one was on frame for the Volunteers.
In the second half, things would change quickly for the Commodores.
In the 50th minute, Myra Konte started a run up the left side and was 1-v-1 with her defender. She beat her defender around the edge and got into the box and was tackled, earning a penalty kick for the Dores. Just like the last time these two teams met, Stephanie Amack calmly struck home the PK for the opening goal and a 1-0 lead.
Tennessee responded by turning the pressure up and keeping the ball in its attacking third. The Volunteers would get multiple chances off of free kicks and corners but the Commodores defense stood tall and kept the Vols from getting quality looks on goal.
As time ticked off the clock, the Commodores would hold possession and secured the 1-0 quarterfinal win and the second victory over Tennessee this season.
Vanderbilt advances on to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2005. They defeated Georgia in the quarterfinals but fell to the Volunteers in the semifinals that year.
The Commodores will take on No. 8 seed Arkansas Thursday afternoon after the Razorbacks upset No. 1 seed South Carolina 1-0. Thursday's match will start at 3:30 pm CT and will be aired on the SEC Network.