Men’s Soccer Prepares for Stern Test in Alabama A&M 9/4/02

Following an emotional season-opening victory over cross-town rival Belmont last Friday at the newly constructed Vanderbilt Soccer Complex, the men’s soccer team will look to stay undefeated when it takes on Alabama A&M at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The Commodores are looking to win back-to-back games to start the season for the first time since 1993, when they started off 2-0 following victories over Arkansas-Little Rock and Alabama-Birmingham.

In front of the largest crowd to ever view a Vanderbilt home soccer game (1,090), the Commodores kicked the 2002 season off in dramatic fashion when freshman Kyle Lapkewych broke a scoreless tie in the 87th minute to give the Black and Gold a lead – one it would not relinquish. Lapkewych’s goal came off an initial corner kick from senior midfielder Nik DeMello.

Another hero in Friday night’s affair was senior goalkeeper Matthew Gotterer, who registered nine saves in recording his second career shutout. One big moment in the game came early in the second half, when Gotterer made two amazing saves off shots from point-blank distances.

On top of kicking their season off in winning fashion, the victory gave Tim McClements his first victory as coach of the men’s soccer team.

The Bulldogs of Alabama A&M have gotten off to a quick start this season after a successful 2001 campaign (13-3-2), as they stand at 2-0 entering Tuesday’s contest. The Bulldogs defeated IUPUI 4-0 in their season opener, and followed that up with a thrilling 5-4 double-overtime victory over IUPU-Ft. Wayne, both at the ‘Pops’ Drayer Classic in Indianapolis. Alabama A&M’s diverse roster consists of 12 players from the United States, four from Uganda, four from Gambia and one from Canada. Forward Abdou Manneh is one of several offensive threats the Commodores will have to pay attention to. In the two games at the ‘Pops’ Drayer Classic, the sophomore tallied three of the team’s eight total goals.

The last time Vanderbilt and Alabama A&M met was in 1999 in Huntsville, Ala. when the Bulldogs defeated the Commodores, 3-2. Alabama A&M plays as an Independent Division I-A team, and will play 16 of its 19 games on the road.



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