The Vanderbilt Commodores are currently last in the SEC, sitting at a record of 0-8. The Commodores needed a kicker for their matchup against the Missouri Tigers. Vanderbilt turned to female soccer player, Sarah Fuller.
Fuller, a senior, is the goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team. She helped her team defeat the Arkansas Razorbacks to win the SEC tournament. According to The Vanderbilt Hustler, the school’s newspaper, Fuller practiced with the team on Tuesday. Fuller is the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game.
Vanderbilt head coach, Derek Mason said the following about Fuller, before the game, “She’s got a strong leg. We’ll see what that yields. Sarah is an option. She seems to be a pretty good option, so we’ll figure out what that looks like on Saturday.”
Fuller saw action on one play against the Tigers. She kicked off the second half with a squib kick. However, it was recovered by Missouri. After the game Mason said that the squib kick, to open the half, was a designed play for Fuller.
The winless Commodores have struggled to find a permanent kicker this season. Many of Vanderbilt’s specialists are forced to quarantine because of COVID-19 tests.
After the game Fuller said, “Honestly, it’s just so exciting. The fact that I can represent all the girls out there that have wanted to do this or thought about playing football or any sports really, and it encourages them to be able to step out and do something big like this, it’s awesome.”
She also stated, “I want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to. Like, you really can. If you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things.”
Women have participated in college football games, however, Fuller is the first to suit up in a Power 5 contest. Katie Knida played for New Mexico in 2003, and Liz Heaston played for Willanatte back in 1997. April Goss kicked for Kent State University from 2012-2015.
Derek Mason said this about his Commodores team; “As you look at this football team, I think this football team has had to truly be relentless. I talked about Mamba Mentality. It had to be about attacking spaces that weren’t necessarily comfortable to you.”
Vanderbilt lost 41-0, but Sarah Fuller has made history against the Missouri Tigers. If the Commodores’ kickers continue to sit out due to COVID-19, Fuller could see more playing time in the future.