After weeks without a victory, the Lady Vols soccer team is searching for a win to close out their regular season.
The team travels to Nashville on Thursday with hopes to better its SEC record against the Vanderbilt Commodores (4-11-3, 1-8-1 SEC) and stay in contention for a conference tournament berth.
The Lady Vols (7-7-4, 2-5-3 SEC) enter the 7 p.m. match coming off of a double overtime 1-1 tie against the Missouri Tigers and a 3-0 loss to Florida on the squad's senior night.
But the Lady Vols are looking to put their past woes behind them in Nashville.
Head coach Brian Pensky said after a few days of recovery, the team should be ready to take competitive play to the Commodores.
"This win is everything," Pensky said. "We know that if we want to put ourselves in a position to make the SEC tournament, we have to have a win. At this point in the season, we aren't looking to reinvent the wheel. We've pretty much been using the same girls and after a long weekend, these days have been about recovery and getting ready for this game."
The match against the Commodores holds the keys to the Lady Vols run for the SEC tournament in Orange Beach, Ala.
With wins from Auburn and Missouri, the Lady Vols could clinch the No. 9 seed in the tournament.
Junior goalkeeper Julie Eckel said the defense is ready to hold its ground against the Commodore offense after a strong week of practice.
"Our coaches made sure we're comfortable with what they're going to be doing and knowing what their forwards are doing," Eckel said. "During the game, it's all about communication starting with the back line and going into the midfield to make sure everyone has their marks and nobody can get free."
The Commodores, winners in just one of their past 10 games, have struggled to keep the ball out of the net, but have managed to find the goal nine times in the team's last five matches. In contrast, the Lady Vols have scored four goals in their previous five games.
Pensky realizes Vanderbilt's offensive strength and said his defense is prepared to shut it down.
"They have two or three of the best attacking players in the league, despite being towards the bottom," Pensky said. "We need to be prepared to shut those personalities down. We talked with our backs about what needs to be done and we'll hopefully be ready for them."
With this being the last regular season game for six Lady Vol seniors, Eckel said winning is her priority for her graduating teammates.
"We know that we're having a little bit of a down season," Eckel said. "Our main focus is winning our last regular season game and seeing what happens. Going into this game, I want to do everything I can to get our seniors a win. It's definitely sad that it's coming to an end, but we want to end on a high note."