PROVO, Utah - Visiting No. 13 Brigham Young in its season opener on Saturday night, the Tennessee women's soccer team delivered the most stunning upset in the program's six-year existence with a 2-1 triumph over the Couga
rs. BYU advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in both 1998 and 2000 and had not dropped a regular-season match at South Field since a 1-0 setback to San Diego State on Oct. 24, 1998.
The victory for UT, just its fourth ever over a ranked opponent, was the squad's first over a top-25 foe away from the friendly confines of Knoxville and eclipsed the previous best of a 3-2 conquest of No. 15 Kentucky set last Oct. 15.
"Words can't describe the effort that my girls put forth this evening," said second-year head coach Angie Kelly. "It is incredible what a committed group of individuals with tremendous heart can accomplish."
Although seven newcomers started for the Lady Vols, including five freshmen, UT was able to notch the first goal of the evening at 5:18. The offensive play was created by junior Jen Laughridge, who was returning to action after taking a medical redshirt w
ith knee problems last season. The midfielder threaded a perfect pass to freshman Keeley Dowling, streaking down the left wing. From there, the rookie from Carmel, Ind., unleashed a low shot to the right side of the goal that BYU senior keeper Jennifer Wa
ldron could not corral.
UT forward Rhian Wilkinson, the 2000 SEC Freshman of the Year, kicked off her sophomore season in stride by delivering a touch pass to rookie Sue Flamini around 30 yards beyond the BYU net. The freshman from Cranford, N.J., then uncorked a laser that Wald
ron could not contain, giving UT a 2-0 advantage at 78:52.
The Cougars were able to cut the deficit in half with 4:21 remaining in regulation, as freshman Kim Devine shook through the Tennessee defense and scored off a feed from sophomore Aleisha Cramer, the 2000 National Freshman of the Year from ESPN/SoccerTime BYU could not solve Stevens in order to record the equalizer.
The Lady Vols met No. 19 Southern California on Monday at BYU's South Field, but results were unavailable at press time.