Junior Kim Patrick tallied a golden goal with just 2:03 remaining in the second sudden-death overtime period to give the Lady Vols soccer team a dramatic 1-0 victory over Eastern Division rival Kentucky in Lexington on Sunday.
The win enabled Tennessee to complete its first-ever road sweep at Vanderbilt and Kentucky, two venues where head coach Angie Kelly's club had never won before this season. With its third-straight win, UT improved to 7-4 overall and 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Wildcats dropped to 8-5 and 2-3 in league play.
The winning score developed after a Lady Vols corner kick was cleared by UK to sophomore defender Tracy Swibas, who sent a high floating ball to the chest of freshman Keeley Dowling. The midfielder then gained possession and with goalkeeper Beth Wells bearing down on her, flicked a pass to Patrick. From there, the forward from Pleasanton, Calif., rammed home her second match-winner of 2001 into the center of the net. In addition, Patrick's seventh goal of the campaign marked her sixth consecutive match with a goal, establishing a new Lady Vols record. The assist was Dowling's third of her rookie season, while Swibas picked an opportune time for her initial point at UT.
"Today was a battle and once again we demonstrated the size of our hearts," Kelly said. "I am encouraged at the coachability of my young ladies, they are beginning to implement key elements into their game that will help us develop as a team. Kim (Patrick) is a consummate goal scorer who has found a way to put the ball in the back of the net consistently for us. It is no surprise to me that she has broken the consecutive-match scoring record."
Junior keeper Cori Stevens registered a career-high 12 saves en route to her third shutout of the year. The Greensboro, N.C., native has also blanked Rutgers and Alabama in '01.
The hosts carried the majority of the play in the first frame, out-shooting Tennessee, 7-4. However, the Lady Vols responded by holding a 14-12 edge in attempts in the last 45 minutes of regulation. Freshman Lyndsey Patterson, whofinished with a career-high seven shots, enjoyed a sequence when she took three straight attempts that were contained by Wildcat defenders manning the vacant goal. UT's best opportunity before the extra session occurred at 82:15, when Patrick's shot ricocheted off the cross bar and to the side. In the match, the visitors held a slim 24-23 shot advantage.
The match-winner at 117:57 represented the latest Tennessee had ever scored to emerge victorious. Previously, Allison Campbell had connected at 106:55 on Oct. 22, 1999, to lift her squad to a 2-1 decision at Ole Miss. Also, UT improved to 7-4-2 in overtime, including 1-1 this season. Additionally, the win snapped a stretch of nine straight 1-0 defeats for the Lady Vols, dating back to a 1-0 conquest of Radford on Oct. 22, 1997.
Kelly's charges evened their record at 3-3 against ranked teams this fall, with wins over No. 13 Brigham Young (2-1 on Sept. 1), No. 16 Wake Forest (2-1 on Sept. 20) and the 24th-rated 'Cats. UT has suffered losses to No. 19 Southern California (1-0 on Sept. 3), No. 7 Clemson (4-3 in double-overtime on Sept. 23) and No. 1 North Carolina (5-2 on Sept. 26). In her two years at the helm at Tennessee, Kelly holds a 4-4 mark against top-25 foes.
The Lady Vols will return to the Tennessee Soccer Complex next weekend against a pair of Eastern Division rivals. In the SEC's Match of the Week to be broadcast live on FOX Sports Net, UT will host five-time defending league champion No. 11 Florida (10-2-1, 5-0 SEC) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Tennessee will also entertain South Carolina (6-4-3, 1-3-1) on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m.