Sept. 28, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Allison Whitworth's nine saves were huge. So were the two that Katy Frierson made as Auburn rebounded from a tie on Friday night to down Vanderbilt, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon. Frierson scored the first goal of the game and then made key saves on the post in both halves as Auburn claimed its first SEC victory of the season.
Auburn (5-4-2, 1-0-1 SEC) scored just 1:19 into the match as the freshman Frierson drew a foul 30 yards out and then ripped the free kick over the wall of Vanderbilt defenders the for her first goal of the season. Vanderbilt responded with a quick counter attack after the restart but Whitworth was up to the task in net, making a diving save after Vanderbilt's Amy Wilcox got behind the Auburn defense inside the six.
"We came out fast, held possession and that led to the free kick," Frierson said. "We have been practicing free kicks all year. (Assistant coach) Amy Berbary told me just to hit it and I did and it went in."
Vanderbilt (6-3-1, 0-2-0 SEC) tied the game in the 15th minute at 1-1, scoring off of a corner for Katie Schulz's 1st goal of the season. Megan Kinsella took the corner kick for Vanderbilt and Schulz was able to pick up the scraps for the goal. Just moments later it was a post and the legs of Whitworth that kept it tied as a Vanderbilt cross hit the near post and went right to the legs of Wilcox, who sent a quick shot right into the legs of a laterally moving Whitworth.
Frierson's play on the defensive end in the 19th minute kept it tied at 1-1 as she was stationed just inside the near post and was able to stop a shot by Schulz from just inside the 18 following another Vanderbilt corner.
Rebecca Howell broke the tie with her third goal of the season after going one-on-one with Vanderbilt goalkeeper Rachel Bachtel to make it 2-1 Auburn in the 25th minute. Jenni Prescott started the play with a one-touch pass to Stephanie Fransoso at the midfield stripe to mount the Auburn counter attack. Fransoso then was able to get a pass through the Vanderbilt defense to Howell, who collected her 11th point of the season.
"Getting two goals in the first half was huge for us," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "We have struggled to answer goals so far this season and I think getting Becca's goal gave us a lot of confidence on the front line."
Gabi Rivera gave Auburn what proved to be a crucial two-goal cushion in the 61st minute when she put in her third goal of the season from just inside the 18, making it 3-1. Howell set Rivera up to collect her team-leading sixth assist of the season.
"We talked about it at halftime that the one-goal lead was not enough," Hoppa said. "We knew we had to come out and pressure them offensively so that we could take some pressure off our backs. To have that insurance goal ended up being the difference in the match."
Vanderbilt was inches away from getting within a goal in the 82nd minute but Whitworth made another kick save on Molly Kinsella's shot after splitting a pair of Auburn defenders. The two goal lead was short lived however as Schulz got her second goal of the season 45 seconds later after Wilcox fed her a pass for a one-timer in the box.
Vanderbilt kept the offensive pressure up following Schulz' second goal, but the Auburn defense held, as Frierson made another save on a Kinsella shot and then Whitworth poked a Nicole Lukens shot over the crossbar.
"When they were behind late, they threw numbers forward at us," Whitworth said. "They got some shots off but we blocked a ton of shots and we had a couple of quality saves off the goal line from our defenders. It was really a team effort keeping them out in the end."
Vanderbilt finished the match with 28 shots to Auburn's 10 and out-cornered Auburn 12-3 but Auburn was able to finish with 11 saves while Vanderbilt had just two.
Auburn returns home for its next two games, playing host to Ole Miss on Friday night, Oct. 3, at 7pm and Mississippi State on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 2pm.