The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Vanderbilt upsets Arkansas to win the SEC Championship

1189 days ago
Vanderbilt Athletics
Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt beat Arkansas 3-1 on Sunday in the SEC Tournament championship, giving the program its first league tournament title since 1994. Vandy overcame a 1-0 deficit thanks to goals by Kimya Raietparvar, Raegan Kelly and Abi Brighton.

The Commodores (8-4) scored 14 goals in four tournament matches - an SEC Tournament record - for head coach Darren Ambrose. They also became the second team in SEC Tournament history since it expanded to include 10 teams to win four matches en route to a championship.

Sunday's SEC tournament championship was the 22nd claimed by Vanderbilt Athletics.

The Razorbacks, the No. 1 overall seed, finished its season 9-2.

Arkansas came out the gate and stunned the Commodores with a goal 46 seconds in. A failed clearance of a cross in the box fell to the right foot Kayla McKeon who slipped home the opening score.

Vandy was not deterred.

Not more than two minutes later Haley Hopkins drew a penalty kick. Raietparvar stepped to the spot and fired home a goal into the left side of the goal equalizing the score.

The Commodores certainly weren't done, either.

In the fifth minute Leila Azari used a fine piece of individual skill to work down the right side of the field before lifting a cross for Kelley who headed it in giving Vanderbilt a 2-1 edge.

Vandy took that lead into the break and finished the first 45 minutes with three shots on goal and three corner kicks.

In the second half it was the Commodores who got off to a fast start. Brighton unleashed a right-footed strike from 20 yards out that banged off the crossbar and down over the line making it 3-1.

Vanderbilt was 37 minutes away from a championship at that point.

Arkansas picked up the pressure but couldn't find a second goal or an equalizer. Vandy keeper Sarah Fuller finished with three saves.