(FOX) — Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller made history Saturday when she became the first woman to appear in a football game for a Power 5 school. She did so when she kicked off for the Commodores in the second half of their game against Missouri.
Fuller drew unwarranted criticism from keyboard warriors on social media for her squib kick. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt didn’t put itself in a position to even score a field goal the entire game.
Commodores head coach Derek Mason defended Fuller, who came over to the football team in a pinch because they were dealing with coronavirus losses, after the game, according to Saturday Down South.
“That was designed for her because that’s what she’s used to striking. We tried to go with the most natural kicks in her arsenal. Tried not to overcoach her but let her do and understand what felt comfortable to her and that’s what we went with. I thought she punched it just like she needed to, balls down at the 35-yard line, let’s go,” Mason said of the kickoff.
Mason said using Fuller wasn’t supposed to be any kind of political statement.
“Listen, I’m not about making statements. This was out of necessity. You look at our week, our students had gone home. The ability to have access to students and tryouts was almost nil, in terms of who was available, with everyone going home for the holiday break,” he said.
“She’s been a trooper. She came right in, she was all about the challenge, I have the utmost respect for her… She could have easily said no, but instead, she prepared all week and did what she was supposed to do. She was as prepared as anyone for this game.”
Fuller was a goalkeeper for the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team and helped the Commodores win the SEC Championship. The university does not have a men’s soccer team.