Vanderbilt Commodores Seeking Respect
The University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University women’s soccer teams had similar beginnings turn into dramatically different endings in 2012.
In Brian Pensky’s first year as head coach at Tennessee, the Lady Volunteers won seven of their last eight regular-season games to solidify their spot at the top of the Southeastern Conference.
In Derek Greene’s third season as head coach at Vanderbilt, the Commodores started 2-1-4 in the SEC and appeared primed to move back into the upper echelon before two key injuries contributed to a season-ending six-game losing streak.
Both coaches welcome back talented returning classes and figure to prosper from deep recruiting classes that will add depth and give each program an opportunity to build on the positives from last season.
“We couldn’t have been more proud of what we did last season,” Pensky said. “Being picked 11th in the league (in the preseason poll) and finishing third in the SEC regular season after ending on a 7-1 stretch, I thought it was a very successful season.”
That run hit a few speed bumps in the last phase of the journey, though. Auburn started a SEC tournament run that helped it secure a bid to the NCAA tournament by beating Tennessee in penalty kicks in the second round of the league tournament. Miami University then upset Tennessee 3-2 in overtime in a first-round NCAA tournament match in Knoxville, Tenn.
Pensky said the loss brought heartbreak to a group of players that relished the chance to get the program back on solid footing. Now that the Lady Volunteers, who went 14-5-3 in 2012, have done that, Pensky hopes his returning players can implement lessons learned from a year ago and help erase the memory of the loss to Miami University.
This article is Premium, please Log in or Subscribe to view full content!
Your subscription has expired please
Subscribe to Southern Soccer Scene to view full article and get all the news in your mailbox!