While fall break serves as much needed time off of academic work, the Lady Vols soccer team takes no time off of the field on the break. The Volunteers (7-5-2) faced off against SEC opponent Auburn Tigers (4-8-2) at Regal Stadium Friday night.
Coming off of two losses, the Lady Vols looked to better their SEC record with a win against the Tigers. While the game ended in neither win or a loss, the Volunteers fought until the final minute of play to tie the game, sending it into two overtime periods of continued scoreless play.
After ten minutes of play, the Lady Vols held control of the pitch, utilizing their back line to hold possession. Beginning the match patiently, the Lady Vols offense allowed for few errors, spending a large amount of time in the Tiger's defensive third. The Tigers rallied to build momentum against the Volunteers, forcing the match to become a rough, yet well-fought battle.
"Auburn played with a very high line," said senior forward Hannah Wilkinson. "I love that style of play. It is definitely a strength of mine. It's good that we could recognize in the game it and we could make it happen. I'm really proud of this team for the fight we gave tonight."
After numerous missed opportunities by both teams, the sore remained at zeroes going into half time. Tennessee, comfortable scoring in the second half, has outscored opponents 12-1 in second half goals.
Following first half trends, the Lady Vols controlled numerous breakaway opportunities without the ability to finish, while on the other half, Auburn's freshman forward Casie Ramsier found the back of the net off of a cross to the top of Tennessee's box, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead over the Volunteers.
"We've been a hard playing soccer team this fall," said head coach Brian Pensky. "We created a number of opportunities, hitting posts and sliding through the six-yard box, and it just didn't happen for us tonight."
Tennessee battled until the last minute of play when senior forward Katie Lenz was able to finally punch one in for the Lady Vols. After orange and white flooded the box, the Tiger keeper Alicen Wright deflected the ball out, allowing Lenz to capitalize in the final minute of play.
"When Hannah shot it, I had a feeling it would deflect and I was in the right place at the right time," said senior forward Katie Lenz. "It was all about determination. We talked before the game about how even if we're faced with adversity to come together and play as a team and be determined to fight until the very last minute."
After Lenz's goal, both ten-minute periods of golden-goal overtimes heavily favored the Tennessee offense. The Lady Vols ended the match with 7 shots on goal and senior goalkeeper Julie Eckel ended with two saves to the Tiger's 3 shots on goal.
"With credit to our kids, we battled our tails off tonight," Pensky said. "You can certainly argue that we did enough to score another goal but it just didn't happen."
UT next plays on the road in another SEC match up on Sunday against Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ar.