The Lady Vol soccer team's offensive woes at the Southeastern Conference Tournament continued on Thursday in Athens, Ga., as third-seeded Tennessee came up short against sixth-seeded Vanderbilt, 2-0.
The defeat marks the fourth straight occasion UT has been blanked at the event. Head coach Angie Kelly's squad dropped to 12-8.
That's a tough match to lose, but my hat goes off to Vandy, Kelly said. They came out fired up and on this occasion they were the better team.
For my seniors and this team, this marks the best season in our history, both in the conference (7-2) and overall. I am extremely proud to be associated with a group of young ladies who played with their hearts every time they stepped on the field.
Sophomore Jen Talavera opened the scoring 11:10 into the match off a shot from around 12 yards out that eluded Lady Vol junior goalkeeper Ellen Dean. Rookie Michelle Bruntlett sent a pass down the left wing to Talavera, who connected on her sixth goal of the campaign.
Vanderbilt tacked on an insurance tally at 78:46 just moments after a Tennessee foul. On the ensuing direct kick, Katie Stegall was able to take possession and deliver a powerful shot into the right side of the goal.
From there, Vandy thwarted every UT offensive opportunity to hold the Lady Vols scoreless.
The VU defense effectively shut down SEC Freshman of the Year Rhian Wilkinson and the rest of the Lady Vol offense, limiting Tennessee to a mere four shots the entire match. Freshman net-minder Stacee Sproul had two saves in recording her seventh shutout of the campaign, while Dean registered six stops in the loss.
The NCAA announced the 48-team field for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night as the Lady Vols were in hopes of an at-large bid. Results were not available at press time.