@Normal:Auburn notched a pair of goals 64 seconds apart in the second half to break a scoreless tie, and the Tigers rode the performance of freshman goalkeeper Megan Rivera to a 2-1 triumph over the 16th-ranked Lady Vols soccer team in both teams' Southeastern Conference opener Friday night.
AU improved to 5-2-1 with the victory, while head coach Angela Kelly's squad dropped its third consecutive match to slip to 4-4.
The Lady Vols controlled play during most of the first half, including a 6-3 advantage in shots, but all that showed on the scoreboard were a couple of zeros.
Of the offensive chances during the opening frame, the best opportunity to break the deadlock was a shot taken by Tiger freshman forward Christina Culver that ricocheted off UT sophomore midfielder Marie-Eve Nault and into the waiting arms of junior keeper Cori Stevens.
Auburn's first goal came from its lone corner kick of the evening, taken by sophomore midfielder Lindsey Hawkins. The reserve for head coach Karen Richter's club angled a cross inside the six that was headed in by sophomore defender Erin Hinson at 64:39 for her first career goal.
Seizing the momentum, the Tigers struck again moments later when rookie forward Sarah Steinmann took a feed from senior Erika Schansberg and came barreling down the left wing to score a goal that gave Auburn a 2-0 cushion at 65:53.
Making her eighth start of 2001, Rivera registered a career-high 11 saves in the cage.
Tennessee finally broke through to avert the shutout at 88:30, when junior Kim Patrick split a pair of Tiger defenders after taking a pass from classmate Jen Laughridge and beat Rivera with a low shot.
Clinging to the one-goal advantage with 90 seconds left in the match, the Tigers withstood a Lady Vol rally to ensure the victory.
With just under 10 seconds remaining, Patrick created a shot off a cross from freshman Kayla Lockaby that Rivera was able to snare moments before the final horn sounded.
UT wound up with an 18-10 edge in shots, led by six from Patrick.
The Lady Vols will next be in action on Sunday afternoon at Alabama (8-2/0-1 SEC).