5-seed Vandy edges 4-seed Arkansas on penalty kicks
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Vanderbilt advanced to the SEC Championship semifinals after defeating ninth-ranked Arkansas in a thrilling penalty shootout, 5-4, on Tuesday night.
The fifth-seeded Commodores and fourth-seeded Razorbacks were even at 1-1 through both overtime periods to setup the PK drama.
Vandy stepped to the spot first and missed before Arkansas slotted home their first attempt to lead 1-0 after the first round. Vandy would make their next four while the Razorbacks would miss their second attempt and make their next three, finishing at 4-4 through five rounds.
Commodore keeper Kate Devine, who didn't play in regulation or overtime, stepped up and hammered home her penalty kick to put the pressure back on Arkansas. On Arkansas' sixth attempt, Vandy's Sara Wodjelko dove to her left and made the game-winning save to send the Commodores on to the next round.
Including trailing 1-0 in the shootout, Vanderbilt had to rally twice Tuesday night to keep their tournament run alive.
Arkansas, who won the regular season meeting 3-0, once again scored in the opening minutes after drawing a penalty and converting it in the sixth minute.
Vanderbilt kept fighting and despite being outshot 8-4, kept it a one-goal contest at halftime.
The big moment in regulation came in the 70th minute after Vanderbilt earned a corner kick, one of seven on the evening. Abi Brighton delivered the corner into the box and Peyton Cutshall rose above her defender and drove a powerful header past the Razorback keeper to equalize.
With Tuesday's win the Commodores advance to meet top-seeded Alabama Thursday at 4 p.m. CT in the semifinals. The Crimson Tide are ranked third in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll, giving the Dores back-to-back contests against top-10 opponents.