Thanks to a late goal by senior forward Alexis Owens, the Lady Volunteers squeaked by the Georgia Bulldogs 3-2 on Senior Night.
The Lady Vols (13-4-2) came into Thursday night’s game on a three game winning streak, already having a spot clinched for the upcoming SEC tournament. Georgia (7-10-2) was in a do-or-die situation. The Bulldogs had to win in order to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Lady Vols were hungry for a win for the seniors on the team.
The Lady Vols were leading the Bulldogs 2-1 in the closing moments of the game when Georgia midfielder Susannah Dennis tied the game off of a corner kick in the 80th minute.
“It put a damper on the rhythm of our game,” said senior midfielder Kylie Bono, who had two assists in the final game of the regular season.
The Lady Vols quickly responded when a strike from senior forward Alexis Owens clinched the victory for Tennessee. The Owens goal was assisted by senior midfielders Kylie Bono and Amy Harrison.
“It’s probably no mistake that it was senior to senior to senior at the end,” said head coach Brian Pensky.
Senior Alexis Owens scored the game-winning goal on Senior Night. Not only was it the game-winning goal, but it was also Owens’ first goal of the 2012 season.
"It feels great. I haven't scored a goal all season. I've been hard on myself because when you're a forward, you're supposed to score goals. With that in mind, I just kept thinking, 'keep going and doing what you're doing and it's gonna come.' And having it come on senior night just makes it better,” Owens said.
"It couldn't go any better,” said teammate Kylie Bono. “I knew we had about eight minutes left, and I just knew I had to get the ball in the box. And Alexis was there, and I knew Alexis was gonna work her butt off to get inside the box and score, and she did. It was a perfect ending."
"Alexis doesn't get the playing time she wants, and sometimes she deserves,” said coach Pensky, “she keeps her mouth quiet, and she works."
The Lady Vols killed their rival’s chance to make it to the postseason. Alexis Owens wasn’t too sympathetic about the situation.
“It feels pretty good (to knock out Georgia),” said Owens.
Although the Lady Vols are ecstatic about the dramatic victory, they know that the real season is about to start—the postseason. The Lady Vols have their eyes fixed on winning the SEC Championship, and possibly the National Championship in late November.
"We've done nothing yet. We've accomplished nothing. We want to compete for a championship next week," said Pensky. “We ended our season good, but we haven’t proven anything yet,” said Bono.
The SEC tournament begins October 29th. The NCAA tournament starts soon after on November 9th.