Sept. 25, 2011
Tori Ball's first career goal came in the 27th minute and sparked the No. 22 Auburn soccer team to a 3-0 win over Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon at the Auburn Soccer Complex. The win not only improved Auburn's record to 8-1-1, 2-0-0 SEC but it also extended the team's unbeaten streak to nine straight matches, two shy of the school record.
As was the case on Friday night in the 4-1 win over Kentucky, Auburn withstood an early Vanderbilt onslaught in which Vanderbilt (6-4-0, 0-2-0 SEC) took three of its seven first-half shots and four of its five first-half corner kicks in the first 18 minutes before Auburn was able to reverse the field.
"We didn't play well in the first half," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "Vanderbilt came out on fire so and that's how this league is; every team is quality and every team is tough to play. I am really pleased with the victory and our second half. We really came out and made the adjustments and we played a lot better and we did what we had to to secure the game."
Ball, who had entered the game just five minutes earlier, found herself inside the six with the ball at her foot after Heather Havron had run the ball down to the end line and served a ball into Chelsea Gandy-Cromer. Gany-Cromer tried to get a shot off but the deflection went right to Ball, who buried it to the opposite post.
The teams went into the locker rooms with the one goal difference but Auburn was quick to capitalize in the second half. Mary Coffed needed just over a minute to put Auburn up 2-0 as she took a feed from Havron and then held off a pair of defenders that on her hip to fire a shot past Vanderbilt goalkeeper Jessica Amlaw for her fourth goal of the season.
"We have been working a lot on forward runs and finishing and the combination we had running up to that and the finish was really exciting," Coffed said.
Katy Frierson iced the game in the 56th minute as she collected a ball at midfield and raced down to the top of the 18 before slotting one past Amlaw for her third goal of the season. The goal was the was the 25th of her career, tying her for fourth in Auburn history with Maggie Cauley (1994-97) and also gave her 87 career points, 10 shy of the school record of 97 held by Jill Palmer (1995-98).
Amy Howard, making her first start of the season after playing 45 minutes on Friday, saw Vanderbilt fire off 12 shots with only two going on frame, both in the second half and Howard stopping both. The shutout was the fourth of the season for Auburn and the 11th of Howard's career, tying her with Meredith McPherson for third all-time in Auburn history.
Auburn's 2-0-0 start in SEC play is its first since 2007.
Auburn takes to the road for its next four matches starting on Friday at Ole Miss and continuing on Sunday at Mississippi State.
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