GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Vanderbilt began SEC play with a 2-1 defeat of Florida on Sunday at Donald R. Disney Stadium, marking the Commodores' first win over the Gators since 1997.
With the win, Vanderbilt (8-1, 1-0) clinched its eighth straight victory, the program's longest winning streak since 2005, when the Dores won 11 in a row.
"We came here to challenge them. We've got one game against Florida," head coach Darren Ambrose said. "It's a tremendous moment for this team and our program. It's a good win on the road against them and it showed a lot of character to respond. I'm just really proud to be a part of this team."
After Vanderbilt took an early 1-0 lead on Sunday, Florida (2-6-1, 0-1) evened the score up in the 78th minute. The Dores responded with late-game heroics courtesy of Paola Ellis, who recorded her first goal of the season at the perfect time. Ellis received a pass from Caroline Saltmarsh in the box and sent the ball right past the goalie to give the Dores a 2-1 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
"It meant everything," Ellis said. "Shout out to my teammates and shout out to God. We fought hard the whole game. We wanted it. It was a lot of crazy deflections and I didn't really have time to think. I knew I had to get it in. My teammates just made it possible for me to be in that right spot.
Vanderbilt got its scoring started when Nia Dorsey sent a pass down the middle of the field and it deflected off a Florida defender right to Kaylann Boyd. Boyd sent a shot from way outside the box and deflected off the left post and into the goal for her fifth goal of the season.
Lauren Demarchi started in goal for the Dores and recorded three saves in the first half. Taiana Tolleson checked in for her at the start of the second half and posted one save to earn the win and move to 2-1 this season.
Florida outshot the Dores, 12-6, but Vanderbilt was more accurate in its shooting. The Commodores posted just three shots on goal with two finding the back of the net.
A physical matchup between SEC foes featured three yellow cards and 20 fouls. Kaylann Boyd and Madiya Harriot recorded their first yellow cards of the season.
Up next, the Commodores continue to extend their winning streak when Alabama visits Nashville on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7:00 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.