By Jackson Sparks, Staff Writer—
On Thursday, The Chattanooga Mocs soccer team was defeated by a score of 3-0 in Nashville against in-state foe Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt arrived in this matchup with a national rank of number nine in the country after an impressive 6-0 start to the season. The Commodores won all of their first six games with a combined 22-3 score. They are recognized as one of the leading defensive teams in all of women’s college soccer.
This matchup with Vanderbilt was a daunting task but the Mocs stuck to their game-plan and never backed down, playing hard until the end.
Throughout the contest, Vanderbilt flexed their muscles, showing off their elite defense. Chattanooga struggled to get shots off as they produced a mere four shots on goal. On the other end, Vanderbilt got off 19 shots on goal. However, Mocs goalkeeper, Ashton Shields, Arlington, Tn., displayed a significant measure of grit and want-to as she held in there, contesting shots on numerous occasions.
2018 All-American and All-SEC, Haley Hopkins, Newport Beach, Ca., of Vanderbilt scored two goals in the contest and put on a showcase of precisely why she was selected All-America. Joining her in the scoring was 2018 All-SEC Midfielder, Grace Jackson, Atlanta, Ga., who added one penalty kick goal herself. This dynamic duo of SEC talent made the difference in this match up with their aggressive and attacking styles.
Mocs Coach Gavin McKinney was proud of the effort the team showcased after giving up an early goal.
“First of all, I thought the girls battled extremely well throughout the 90 minutes,” McKinney said. “We conceded early on in the first half, but we dug out heels in and continued to fight.”
The bright spot for the Mocs in Nashville was their unwavering effort and refusal to roll over and quit. After all, they only found themselves down 1-0 after the first 45 minutes. They stuck to their game-plan and ultimately fell up short, but this experience against an elite competitor could pay dividends as the season progresses.
Next up for the 3-3-2 Chattanooga Mocs soccer team, they travel to Huntsville Alabama to take on the 1-3 Alabama A&M Bulldogs on Sept. 19.