Tennessee Soccer lost again on Sunday afternoon, falling to Alabama, 1-2.
The Lady Vols suffered four injuries to major players in their loss, moving to 0-3 in the SEC.
Here are the highlights:
Tennessee had two tough losses to begin conference play. They travelled to Nashville to face their in-state rival in Vanderbilt. They then went south to Auburn to take on the Tigers.
In their match against Vanderbilt, the Lady Vols played well as the match went on scoreless for over 109 minutes. In the 110th minute Vanderbilt scored the golden goal to put the game away 0-1.
Against Auburn, Tennessee fought hard and was able to get their best possession percentage of the season with 63%. They were able to get 12 shots off, with five of those on goal. Many of their other shots came within inches of the goal, but no shots found the net as they lost 0-1.
In their most recent matchup against the Crimson Tide, the Lady Vols struggled offensively. They were only able to get off five shots in the first half. They totaled 11 shots on the night, with three coming from Colleen Mcllvenna. Only one found the net, a goal from Alicia Donley.
The Crimson Tide offense rolled to 29 shots on the day, with two finding the net: A penalty kick goal from freshman Serena Pham, and a last minute golden goal from Nealy Martin.
“I’m very proud of our team,” Lady Vols head coach Brian Penksy said. “They left it all out there, they really did. Vanderbilt was a tough one with 30 seconds left; this is pretty painful too. I hurt for our kids right now, but there’s a silver lining. We all have to look in the mirror. I feel like those kids can look in the mirror and be pretty proud of their effort today.”
Injuries Hinder the Offense
Injuries are putting this Volunteer team on a setback in SEC play.
Redshirt senior Katie Cousins had been out for all SEC games the Lady Vols played in until the 35th minute of Sunday’s game. Cousins had been dealing with a knee injury going into the season, but she was able to be substituted into the Vols’ matchup against Alabama.
In the 21st minute, freshman midfielder Sonia Ouchene Salón went down with an injury after a foul against Alabama’s Chloe Maize. Salón attempted to stay in the match, but went down again within a minute. She was taken to the locker room for evaluation.
In the 51st minute, MA Vignola went down with an injury to her left leg. She did not return to the game. She was replaced by Alicia Donley, who scored the Volunteers’ lone goal of the afternoon.
Later, in the 79th minute, Donley went down with a left leg injury. She had to be helped off the field, and was not able to put weight on her injured leg.
In the 104th minute, junior Wrenne French went down with an injury. She limped off the field on her own power, but did not return to the game.
“We probably lost a couple more kids to injury, probably season-ending,” Pensky said after being asked about updates for his injured players. “A couple kids that got hurt today will get some X-rays and MRIs, and we’ll see how they do.”
Coach Pensky was hopeful that Michelle Alozie, Vignola and Salón would recover easily and be back for next week’s matchup against Kentucky. He did not speak of Donley or French, who suffered more major injuries.
The Volunteers left Sunday afternoon’s game with lots of question marks surrounding their team’s health and depth. They finished the match without their top three scorers in Vignola, Salón and Donley. They will be looking to find answers on offense.
Outstanding Goalie Play
The one bright spot of their Sunday matchup was Lindsey Romig.
Romig was able to notch eight saves against the Crimson Tide’s second half onslaught.
“This morning I wrote a text message to my assistant coaches saying, ‘There’s going to come a day where Lindsey Romig is going to have to make some big time plays to keep us in a game,’ and then I deleted the text. Today was that day. She made some lights-out saves.”
Romig was nursing an injury going into SEC play, but was able to start against Vanderbilt. She has been making incredible saves as a true freshman.
The Lady Vols will have a week to evaluate their injuries and prepare for their next game.
Kentucky comes to Knoxville on Sunday, October 6, where Tennessee will still be looking for their first SEC win. The game will be available on SEC Network. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m.