Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller could make Power 5 history Saturday against Missouri

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller is poised to make history Saturday. If the starting goalkeeper for the Commodores gets into Saturday’s football game at Missouri, she will become the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game.

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The school announced Friday that Fuller, 21, of Wylie, Texas, will dress for Vanderbilt’s Southeastern Conference game at Missouri, The Tennessean reported. The 6-foot, 2-inch tall senior kicker confirmed the news in a tweet Friday afternoon.

“Let’s make history,” Fuller tweeted, using the hashtag,#playlikeagirl.

Vanderbilt announced that Fuller practiced with the team this week after COVID-19 contact tracing left the school with “a limited number of specialists,” The Tennessean reported.

“Had her out, had a chance to look at what she can do with a football,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason told The Athletic’s Peter Baugh. “She’s really good with a soccer ball, seems like she’s pretty good with a football, too.”

Only two women have played football at the FBS level, ESPN reported: Katie Hnida of New Mexico and April Goss of Kent State.

On Aug. 30, 2001, Ashley Martin became the first woman to score points at the Division I level when she kicked three extra points for Jacksonville State against Cumberland. Two years later, Hnida became the first woman to score points at the FBS level when she kicked two extra points against Texas State, ESPN reported.

“I think it’s amazing and incredible,” Fuller told Vanderbilt’s website. “But I’m also trying to separate that because I know this is a job I need to do and I want to help the team out and I want to do the best that I can. Placing that historical aspect aside just helps me focus in on what I need to do. I don’t want to let them down in any way.

“It’s an honor they called on me to be able to do this and help them out.”

Fuller, who will wear No. 32 on Saturday, will have the phrase “Play Like A Girl” on her helmet. Fuller tweeted that Play Like A Girl is “a nonprofit that encourages girls to play sports and get exposure to STEM opportunities.”

Fuller started nine games for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team this season, and the Commodores went 7-2 with the senior in the net, The Tennessean reported. She helped the Commodore win the 2020 Southeastern Conference Tournament title.

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