Facing fellow SEC Eastern Division member South Carolina at Eugene E. Stone III Stadium in Columbia on Sunday afternoon, the Lady Vol soccer team aimed to even its conference mark at 1-1.
For the third time in 2000, head coach Angie Kelly's squad registered a shutout, this time with a 3-0 conquest over the Gamecocks. With their first blanking of a league opponent since a 6-0 romp over Mississippi State on Oct. 23, 1998, the Vols boosts their record to 5-6 overall. In addition, UT has now defeated South Carolina (3-9, 0-2 SEC) all five times the schools have met.
"I was extremely excited and proud of my team's performance, not only today, but in Friday night's match as well," said Kelly, who picked up her first SEC win. "We are developing a never-say-die mentality that will become the cornerstone of Tennessee women's soccer in the years to come. When a team can collectively play with heart and determination, they will never have any regrets when they step off the field and my teams will never have any regrets."
Senior forward Shayna Teutsch popped in her third goal of the campaign at 7:44 off an assist by junior Tara Minnax to give the visitors a quick advantage. The midfielder crossed a pass from the right side to around nine yards out, where Teutsch came sliding in to direct the ball past USC goalkeeper Jessica Freas. The helper was Minnax's team-best fourth of the campaign and matched her season-high set as a rookie in 1998.
The score would remain unchanged until 72:16, when senior Rachael Newkirk stepped up to take a free kick inside Carolina's offensive zone following a foul. The Roswell, Ga., native noticed Minnax making a run towards the right side of the goal-mouth and delivered a well-timed pass that was headed in. The goal was Minnax's third of the season, while Newkirk was credited with her second assist.
Freshman Rhian Wilkinson provided the Lady Vols with an insurance tally with 5:23 left in the match, when she launched a scoring blast from 25 yards out after gaining possession around midfield and dribbling past a couple of USC defenders. The goal was the rookie's team-best sixth of 2000 and her first since UT's encounter at Radford on Sept. 20.
Junior goalkeeper Ellen Dean made a triumphant return to the lineup after sitting out Friday night against Florida by recording her second solo shutout. Dean was forced to make just one save, as the Lady Vol defense allowed just three shots the entire afternoon, with zero coming in the second half.
Tennessee will conclude its four-match road swing next weekend with trips to Fayetteville, Ark., and Baton Rouge, La. The Lady Vols will face Arkansas at Lady' Back Field on Friday night, followed by a Sunday matinee versus the Tigers at the LSU Soccer Complex. The squad's next contest in Knoxville does not occur until Friday night, Oct. 13, when in-state rival Vanderbilt comes calling.