Women’s Soccer Kicks Off 2002 Season Against Saint Louis 8/31/02

The Commodores’ women’s soccer team will have their first opportunity to play at the newly constructed Vanderbilt Soccer Complex at 1 p.m. Sunday against Conference USA opponent Saint Louis University.

This will be the second meeting between the two teams. The Commodores defeated the Billikens 4-1 back on September 6, 1998 in the Vanderbilt Diadora Classic.

Following disappointing 2001 seasons, both Vanderbilt and Saint Louis are looking to rebound in 2002. The Commodores concluded last season with a 7-10 overall record and a 4-5 mark in the SEC, while the Billikens finished 8-10-1 and 5-4-1 in Conference USA.

Saint Louis returns a great deal of its offensive firepower from the 2001 season. Leading the way is sophomore forward Jamie Perry, who scored 26 points last season (11 goals, four assists). In the Billikens’ 2002 season opener against Drury on Friday night, Perry tallied all three goals in the team’s 3-0 victory. Senior forward Jenny Kehl is also a serious offensive threat for Saint Louis, and this is supported by the five goals and 10 assists she had in 2001.

In net, senior Meghan Burke gives her opponents a difficult opposition. Burke stated and played in all 19 games last season, while having a goals against average of 1.43 and registering 106 saves.

The Commodores have a solid mixture of experience and youth. Vanderbilt’s roster is composed of 16 returning players, 10 freshmen and one transfer. The one transfer might be the biggest to the 2002 roster. Junior Esther Thompson, who transferred from national power Texas A&M will see her first action in net for the Commodores. Over her first two seasons with the Aggies, Thompson recorded an amazing 17 shutouts and a goals against average of under 1.00.

Vanderbilt concluded its preseason with a 2-0 record, while outscoring its opponents, 10-0. The Commodores defeated Jacksonville State (Ala.) 4-0 and cross-town rival Belmont, 6-0. Following Sunday’s contest with the Billikens, the Commodores will play their next six games on the road before returning on October 4 to take on SEC power Florida.

Women’s Soccer Notes

In each of the past five seasons, the Commodores have defeated a ranked opponent. Entering the 2002 season, Vanderbilt will play five teams ranked in the NSCAA Preseason Top 25 (Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Southern Methodist).

The Commodores have recorded a .500 or better winning percentage 10 of the last 12 years. Vanderbilt finished the 2001 campaign with one of those losing seasons (7-10).

Vanderbilt owns an all-time record of 60-31-2 (.651) against its 2002 regular season opponents. Of the 17 teams the Commodores play this year, they own their most wins against Arkansas (12-3-1), while they own their most losses against Florida (2-10).

Following their season opener against Saint Louis University (Sept. 1) at the newly constructed Vanderbilt Soccer Complex, the Commodores will play their next six games on the road. Vanderbilt’s next home game will be on Friday, Oct. 4 against Florida.

The Commodores will be led in goal this season by recent Texas A&M transfer Esther Thompson. In just two seasons with the national power Aggies, Thompson recorded an amazing 17 shutouts and a 1.03 goals against average.

Youth will definitely be on the head coach Ronnie Hill’s side this season, as she has only four seniors on her 27-player roster. Of the 27 members on the squad, 10 of those are freshmen.

Vanderbilt’s 24 goals in 2001 were the second lowest output by a Commodore team since 1987 when they scored 22 goals (minimum 14 games).

Despite only 24 goals in 2001, Vanderbilt returns its top two leading scorers, senior Katharine Carroll and junior Laura Hershenow. Both players tallied four goals and one assist apiece. Over her first three seasons, Carroll has tallied 16 goals and dished out 10 assists for a total of 33 points. Hershenow has contributed 16 goals and five assists over her first two years (37 points).

Carroll, sophomore Jessica Fear and senior Kelly Kulsrud started and played in all 17 games last season for the Commodores, and on top of that played all 1,559 minutes. Vanderbilt is the only school in the SEC to have three players play every minute of every game for their team.




Vanderbilt Athletic Department
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