Commodores Host Belmont in Season Opener 8/30/02

A new chapter in Vanderbilt soccer kicks off tonight, as the Commodores’ men’s soccer team will take on cross-town rival Belmont University at 7 p.m. Friday at the newly constructed, 2,400-seat Vanderbilt Soccer Stadium.

At a cost of almost two million dollars, the new features improvements for fans, media and players alike. In addition to the new 2,400 seats, fans will have new restroom and concession areas at the stadium. Media can now cover the game from the press box area at the top of the stadium. Players will compete on the new Tiftsport grass field installed this past summer. Under the playing surface, a new sand cap drainage system and water cannon irrigation system was installed. Above the field, a new lighting system was installed that will improve visibility at night games this year.

To go along with the new stadium, Tim McClements will take the field for the first time as new men’s soccer coach. McClements replaces Randy Johnson, who coaches at Vanderbilt for 29 year. McClements is now only the second coach in the history of the men’s soccer program.

“We are excited the about the opportunity to play in a new facility,” McClements said. “The guys are especially excited to kick off a new chapter in Vanderbilt soccer.”

The Commodores and Bruins enter tonight’s game looking to improve on disappointing 2001 seasons. Vanderbilt is coming off a 6-10-1 season, while Belmont finished 2-13-1 while playing in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Commodores lead the all-time series with their cross-town foe, 5-0. The last time the teams squared off, which was back in 2000, Vanderbilt defeated Belmont, 3-0.

Both teams bring an array of experience to the field. Of the 25 players on the Commodores’ roster, 15 of them are either juniors or seniors. Just like Vanderbilt, more than half of Belmont’s roster is either a junior or senior, as 12 of 20 players have at least two year’s of experience for the Bruins.

If the Commodores defeat the Bruins on Friday, it will be Vanderbilt’s first season-opening victory since it defeated Virginia Commonwealth 2-1 back in 1998. Since 1978, the men’s soccer team is 9-14-1 in season openers. McClements’ squad returns two All-MVC players from the 2001 season. Defender Chris Yingling, who was named to the second team, and goalkeeper Matthew Gotterer, an honorable mention selection, will both be in starting line-up Friday evening.

Midfielder Nik DeMello, who led the team with five goals and three assists last season, will be one of several players looked upon to revitalize the Commodores offense, which scored only 24 goals in 17 games last season.

“Entering the season, you are always dealing with the unknown, but everyone is excited to play,” McClements said. “We want to make sure we get off to a good start, and I am sure Belmont is looking to do the same.”


Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
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615-322-GOLD (4653)