After two hard-fought SEC matches, the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team wasn't able to come away with a weekend victory.
Following their 1-1 tie in double overtime against the Auburn Tigers on Friday, the Lady Vols (7-6-3, 2-4-2 SEC) were defeated 2-1 on Sunday by Arkansas at Razorback Field.
Early in the game, Arkansas created offensive momentum by firing five shots within the first 10 minutes, but Tennessee goalkeeper Julie Eckel was able to keep the game scoreless with multiple outstretched saves, including a header shot by Razorback defender Alexandra Fischer that Eckel slapped away.
Senior forward Caroline Brown put the Lady Vols on the board when she took a pass from junior forward Hannah Wilkinson and moved her way through the Arkansas back line. Brown fired to the top corner of the goal to tip the ball over the Razorback goalkeeper and gave the Lady Vols an early 1-0 advantage.
"I try to just focus on the things that I can control, like my effort, my fight and my willingness to give my all for my team," Brown said.
The Razorbacks evened the match to 1-1 when forward Ashleigh Ellenwood scored on an arching cross inside the box over Eckel in the 29th minute.
"We matched up well," head coach Brian Pensky said. "We got a rhythm and scored a good goal, and unfortunately they caught us off a counter off a goal kick and we go into half time tied. They were playing for corner kicks and throw-ins."
With a deadlocked score, both teams amped up the defensive pressure and didn't allow a goal until the waning moments of the match.
That's when the Razorbacks struck.
In the 88th minute, Arkansas senior Evan Palmer found the net to seal the victory for her team and hand the Lady Vols their sixth loss of the season.
"Our strength was our ability to play soccer," freshman midfielder Michele Christy said. "We connected well and really dominated Arkansas with our possession which lead to many goal scoring opportunities. We just couldn't finish our chances."
Despite the tough weekend, the Lady Vols are eager to move on, and the first opportunity to do so comes Friday against No. 16 Florida.
"This Friday is our last home game and senior night and a game that we have to win," Christy said. "We are focused this week at practice just working as hard as we can."
Pensky added: "The rest of our season starts with Friday against Florida, one of the best attacking teams in the league, as well as one of the best defending teams. If we come out with the passion and energy that we should come out with we will have an opportunity to win."
Friday's match at Regal Soccer Stadium is both Senior Night and Goal Pink Night. The match is slated for a 7 p.m. The Lady Vols then conclude their weekend on the road at Missouri.