A pair of goals from freshman forward Jackie Acevedo lifted the 13th-ranked Lady Vols to a 2-1 win over Kentucky Sunday afternoon in Lexington, Ky.
The Lady Vols moved to 9-5-1 on the year and 7-1 in Southeastern Conference play and, more importantly, moved back into the overall SEC lead with their win and Georgia's 2-1 victory over No. 21 Vanderbilt. The Commodores beat Tennessee 2-1 Friday night in Nashville to briefly take first place.
"Anytime you're coming off of a loss, there's a learning period," Lady Vols coach Angela Kelly said. "We really seemed to come closer as a unit and talk about the things we need to do better today. Kentucky played well-organized and dynamic ball today and challenged us in many areas.”
Acevedo hit the clincher in the 78th minute, taking the lead pass from sophomore forward Genna Gorman and sprinting past the Kentucky defense and Wildcats goalkeeper Anne Ogundele before putting the shot into the open net.
The goal was Acevedo's first collegiate game-winner. Acevedo became the first Lady Vol to score two goals in a match this season and the first freshman to accomplish the feat since Gorman did it in the 2-1 overtime triumph over LSU last year.
The start of the second half saw Kentucky (6-3-7, 2-3-3 SEC) control the pace, as the Wildcats took three shots in the period before Acevedo's heroics. Just two minutes after half, Courtney McCrudden had a shot from 12 yards out that UT senior goalkeeper Vanessa Phillips-Bosshart caught for the save. Four minutes later, Jen Weakley tried a strike, but senior defender Talia Wright blocked the shot away from goal. Finally, in the 73rd minute, Kristin Moyer went for a header toward the back post, but UT was again able to clear the ball away from the net.
“I'm proud of our ladies' fight today as well as their playing with each other,” Kelly said. “Jackie (Acevedo) did a great job finishing both goals, but the credit has to go to the whole team.”
The Lady Vols tried to add some insurance later, as freshman forward Kylee Rossi took a shot from the left wing in the 86th minute that went wide right.
UT opened up the scoring in the 18th minute as Acevedo finished a give-and-go with sophomore forward Emily Redberg from about 8 yards out for her first collegiate goal.
The 41st minute nearly had two scores. Gorman drilled a free kick from about 25 yards out towards goal, but Ogundele made the diving stop in front of the left post. The Wildcats then turned quickly, as Kristen Kover finished the breakaway by making a shot on goal. Phillips-Bosshart got a hand on the ball, but not enough to redirect it as the ball bounced behind her and over the goal line for the score. It was Kover's first collegiate goal.