KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An empty-net golden goal from junior forward Emily Redberg at 97:41 gave the 10th-ranked Lady Vol soccer team a 2-1 win over in-state rival Middle Tennessee at the Regal Soccer Stadium and secured the tournament title at the 2006 First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic for the Big Orange host.
Redberg won the tournament’s most valuable offensive player award after scoring three of the Lady Vols' four goals in the tournament this weekend. After her first career two-goal outing against UNC Greensboro, Redberg tallied another career first when she jutted past Middle Tennessee goalkeeper Erynn Murray and poked the ball into the net for the golden goal. Both redshirt freshman Mick Imgram and senior Kristen Doukakis received assists on the play.
The Lady Vols (3-1-1) came out sluggish in the first half but still managed to out-shoot the Blue Raiders, 10-2, in the period. Middle Tennessee (5-1) hit pay dirt in the fifth minute, as Kala Morgan knocked home her third goal of the weekend off the cross from Rebecca Rodriguez. MTSU kept the pressure on, recording the next shot at 6:42, but that would be the last time the Blue Raiders would threaten UT's goal for nearly 90 minutes.
Tennessee had opportunities in the first half, with Redberg missing the best chance in the 21st when her shot from inside the six-yard box missed right. Imgram tried her hand on a free kick in the 39th minute, but that shot missed left. Redberg fired a left-footed shot in the 41st from 23 yards out, but Murray was there for the stop.
The Orange and White came out of halftime playing inspired ball, taking a 17-0 advantage in shots during the period. A pair of sophomore Kylee Rossi’s shots were stopped by the Blue Raider defense early in the period, both coming inside the penalty area. In the 50th minute, Rossi tried to finish a cross from Imgram, but MTSU cleared it off the line.
Imgram scored her first collegiate goal in the 63rd minute, beating Murray in a one-on-one situation after taking the chip serve in from Jeffers. The assist is the fifth career for Jeffers.
Overtime saw UT continue its strong play, though MTSU did have one shot on goal in the extra frame. That came from Holly Grogan, who attempted a blast from 40 yards out in front of the Tennessee bench.
In the match, Tennessee held a 31-3 advantage in shots and a 9-1 lead in corner kicks over Middle Tennessee. Lady Vol sophomore goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson saw her shutout streak snapped at 221:51, but she did make one stop to move to 3-1-1 on the season.
"I'm pleased with the win," coach Angela Kelly said. "Middle Tennessee played hard and battled. We've been starting very slow in the first half, and we're not helping ourselves or our legs going into overtime. But a win's a win, and I'm excited for the girls. Now we'll start our preparations for Stanford and Santa Clara, two quality programs, tomorrow."
Joining Redberg as one of the tournament MVPs was Vol junior defender Jordan Falcusan, who won her second First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic title after helping Texas A&M to the crown a year ago. Other Vols making the all-tournament team were Ali Christoph, Jeffers and Rossi.
Tennessee closes out its out-of-conference schedule next weekend against Stanford and Santa Clara at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.