With only one weekend remaining until the SEC opener, the Lady Vols' soccer team took the field Sunday afternoon, looking to cap off the non-conference schedule with a win and build some positive momentum going into conference play.
After both teams failed to register a goal through regulation as well as a 20-minute overtime period, the Lady Vols ended the game in a 0-0 draw with visiting Western Kentucky.
"(I feel) gutted," head coach Brian Pensky said. "Just like our kids are feeling."
"That really felt like a loss for us," junior forward Hannah Wilkinson said. "We definitely should have won."
Statistically, Tennessee (5-3-1) outplayed the Hilltoppers, outshooting the squad 36-10, but the Lady Vols failed to find the net on any of their shots.
"We created enough chances, and enough quality chances to have gotten a goal," Pensky said. "It just didn't happen today, we went from scoring almost two goals a game in our first six games on less then 15 shots a game to no goals on 36 shots today."
"I think we were very unlucky with our shooting," Wilkinson said. "It was just a little bit frustrating you know, I just kept thinking we are so on top of this team, we've definitely got this, it's coming. I think that was just the luck today."
Western Kentucky spent most of the game successfully defending a strong Tennessee attack and was able to keep the Vols off the scoreboard behind 11 saves from keeper Nora Abolins.
"It's hard when teams sit in and just defend, it's a similar picture to what we saw Friday night at Middle Tennessee," Pensky said. "It doesn't matter what country or what professional team you play on, it's hard to break down teams that are organized and just sit in their back half."
"(A low backline) is something that is difficult for me to play in," Wilkinson said. "When they have a high backline that's my strength, getting in behind there.
"I did find it a little hard to have opportunities, but that's when the midfield opens up and that's what we need to work on."
The Lady Vols did not let the lack of offensive firepower affect their defense as they recorded the team's fourth shutout of the season on Sunday.
"It's hard when a team sits in and all you are doing all day is defending against counterattacks," Pensky said. "I thought they dealt well with the counterattack. I'm not surprised by the job they did, I'm just disappointed that we didn't get a goal."
"I can rely on my speed," junior defender Allie Sirna said. "And I know that if I need anything my teammates will always cover me."
Sunday marked the end of Tennessee's non-conference portion of the schedule, and the Lady Vols will enter SEC play Friday at 7 p.m. against Texas A&M at Regal Stadium.