Vandy women’s soccer player option to kick for football team

Sports

FILE – In this Oct. 31, 2020, file photo, Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason looks on from the sideline during an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt women’s soccer goalkeeper Sarah Fuller has practiced with the football team, and coach Derek Mason says she’s an option at kicker Saturday against Missouri. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Women’s soccer player Sarah Fuller has practiced with the Vanderbilt football team, and coach Derek Mason said Wednesday she’s a good option to be the Commodores kicker Saturday against Missouri.

“She’s really good with a soccer ball, she seems to be pretty good with a football so we’ll see,” Mason said. “We’re keeping all options open right now, and we’ll get a chance to see what she does on Saturday if given the opportunity.”

Mason said his Commodores (0-7) are having health issues with their specialists. Vanderbilt has declined to comment on any players who’ve either tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine. Junior Pierson Cooke is 3-of-7 on field goals this season, and junior Wes Farley is the backup.

Fuller, a senior from Wylie, Texas, made three saves last weekend as Vanderbilt upset top-seeded Arkansas 3-1 in women’s soccer to capture the Southeastern Conference Tournament tile.

Mason said he reached out to soccer coach Darren Ambrose, a close friend, to see if Fuller could work as an option. He saw Fuller kick in practice Tuesday both off the tee and kicking a couple field goals.

“I just wanted to see how strong her leg was, and I can tell you she’s got a strong leg,” Mason said. “We’ll see what that yields. I mean in terms of distances, I’m not into talking about that. I got another like day to day to go in there and evaluate exactly where she sits. … She seems to be a pretty good option.”

No woman has appeared in an SEC football game or for any Power 5 team.

Liz Heaston became the first woman to play in a college football game Oct. 19, 1997, when she kicked two extra points for Willamette in NAIA. Ashley Martin was the first woman to kick in a Division I game Aug. 30, 2001, with three extra points for Jacksonville State in the now Football Championship Subdivision.

Katie Hnida was the first woman to score in the top Division I level Aug. 30, 2003, with two extra points against Texas State-San Marco after starting her career at Colorado. She missed an extra point in December 2002 agaisnt UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl.

April Goss kicked an extra point in the first half of Kent State’s 45-13 win over Delaware State on Sept. 15, 2015. That made her the second woman to score in a Football Bowl Subdivision game.

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