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Kelley scores twice as Vandy coasts past Florida

102 days ago
Vanderbilt Athletics
Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Vanderbilt had no shortage of scoring Thursday night at Florida, taking down the Gators 5-2 for a second consecutive conference victory.

Vanderbilt struck first in the 20th minute off the right foot of Peyton Cutshall. A Vandy corner kick led to Cutshall's strike, her second goal on the season.

Just three minutes later the Commodores doubled their lead. Amber Nguyen won a free kick and fired a bending shot off the crossbar to make it 2-0 in the 23rd.

After Florida got on the board off a corner kick in the 28th, the Commodores wasted no time building their lead back to two. Hannah McLaughlin sent a cross into the box and Raegan Kelley headed in her team-leading seventh goal this season and 26th of her career.

The game remained 3-1 until the 61st when Kelley once again found space off a cross, this time from Nguyen. Nguyen's pinpoint pass found Kelley alone near the far post and Kelley tapped in her second goal of the evening to make it 4-1.

Florida cut the Vandy lead back to two on a Vandy own goal in the 71st, but once again the Commodores had a response.

Abi Brighton joined the scoring party just minutes later on a beautifully taken free kick of her own that left Florida's keeper with no chance at a save. Brighton's first goal on the season would give Vanderbilt five goals in an SEC contest for the first time since a 5-0 win over Missouri in 2021.

Vanderbilt has now won three straight over the Gators in Gainesville under head coach Darren Ambrose.

"I am really proud of how we came out and controlled the game for long periods. We scored some great goals,' Ambrose noted. "The ladies are a little disappointed to concede two goals in the manner we did but those errors are very fixable in practice. Overall just a really solid performance on the road."

Vandy improves to 10-2-3 (4-2-2 SEC) and has reached the 10-win mark for the fourth time in Ambrose's eight seasons. The Commodores host Mississippi State Sunday at 3 p.m. in the final home match of the regular season.