Following a rough conference road trip that saw a tie at LSU and a loss at Alabama, the Lady Vols' soccer team looked to rebound against No. 25 Ole Miss Friday night at Regal Stadium.
Senior forward Caroline Brown scored the game's first goal in the 68th minute as she scored on a through ball from senior Katie Lenz, and the Vols added two more scores as they upset the visiting Rebels 3-0.
"I think it's huge for our confidence," said Coach Brian Pensky as the Vols improved to 7-3-2 on the season and 2-1-1 in conference play. "To say that we needed this is a gross understatement. We just finished our chances, and they didn't"
"It was a just an all-around team buildup," Brown said. "It gave us that confidence to keep going, and just put it down their throats a little bit"
For Brown, her goal tonight tied a program record as the 15th game winning goal of her career.
"I attribute that to all of the girls I've played with since I've been here," Brown said. "I was just on the end of it at the right time, and they all work to get it up there. I definitely give everyone credit that I've played with the whole time I have been here."
For goalkeeper Julie Eckel, this marked her fifth shutout of the season, and it came against an Ole Miss team that was averaging right at three goals per game.
"We needed some special plays from our goal keeper," Pensky said. "Julie did that in the second half, she's a stud, and for her this was an awesome bounce back game for her."
"It's just being in the right place, and trying to keep our team in it," Eckel said. "We just scouted them really well, and our coaches told us everything they were going to do, and we were just there for each other the whole night."
In the 75th minute senior mid-fielder CC Cobb scored on a breakaway that was assisted by freshman forward Aaran Parry.
"Aaran Parry is just a stud," Pensky said. "That ball that she slides and dives for to play in behind to CC Cobb, and then just a good finish from CC."
Freshman Amalie Thestrup added some breathing room in the 85th minute as she capitalized on Parry's second assist of the game. The Lady Vols have gotten key minutes from freshmen all year, and tonight was no exception.
"You saw Amalie's reaction after she scored," Pensky said. "It was a long time coming, thank goodness the monkey is off my back and now maybe I can play a little bit."
This upset win follows a weekend where Tennessee struggled on the road, and the players and coaches were thankful to get a big win.
"Relief, I'm happy for our kids," Pensky said. "It put a pretty big injection of confidence into our kids. When you have rough results you would be naïve to think that it doesn't affect you."
"It felt great, it just gave us our confidence back," Brown said. "One of our mottos is we have to believe, that's part of it, and coming back from a hard weekend belief is 99 percent of it. That's what we showed when we came out here today. We got our confidence back, and we're ready to go."
The Vols will turn around and host South Carolina at 3 p.m. Sunday at Regal stadium.