The Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team (6-4-1) defeated Kentucky (5-5-2) 2-0 for its first SEC win of the season Sunday.
The star of the game was freshman Isabella Cook. Cook played 80 of the 90 minutes, registering a goal and an assist, and stepped up in the absence of Sonia Ochene Salón.
Lindsey Romig got the start in goal and was joined by MA Vignola, Makenzie Ostrom, Claire Franks, and Maya Neal in playing the full 90 minutes. Also, Mackenzie George additionally requires mention, putting in 86 minutes of work.
Katie Cousins opened the action with shot just wide in the 3rd minute. The first 15 minutes would be back and forth between the two boxes. A Kentucky chance in the 17th minute off a corner was wasted, and soon after that Kentucky had a shot deflected over the crossbar.
Tennessee broke the deadlock with a goal in the 20th minute scored by Cook. The goal came as the result of a cross by Colleen McIlvenna that the Kentucky defender attempted to clear but was intercepted by Cook.
Kentucky earned a corner in the 23rd minute that looked like would lead to a goal, but Tennessee was able to clear.
MA Vignola received the ball on a breakaway in the 29th minute and buried it doubling the Volunteers’ lead.
Cook had a great opportunity in the 41st minute but couldn’t find the ball on an attempted one-timer. Claudia Dipasupil was able to control the cross, but her shot ricocheted off the top post.
Tennessee earned corner kicks in the 55th and 59th minutes but neither produced goals. Kentucky counterattacked to earn corners of their own in the 60th and 61st but both were well defended by the Vols.
Kentucky had a scoring opportunity in the 64th minute but Foster Ignoffo couldn’t finish off the cross for the Wildcats. Vignola responded and crossed in a ball in that resulted in two shots for Dipasupil, but both were off target.
Michelle Alozie had the ball in the box in the 72nd minute, but she couldn’t get around the defender. Alozie earned a corner for her efforts but nothing came of it.
Kentucky earned a free kick on the edge of the box in the 76th minute, but the strike was wide right of the net. Tennessee’s Hadley Cryton tried her luck on goal in the 80th minute but it was an easy stop for the keeper. The Vols were then able to hold on for their first conference victory.
Senior defender Maya Neal described the feeling after the game, “Definitely, the monkey coming off our back. Win-by-win. Got to start 0-0 next game and focus on the present and that will help us in the future.”
“It was a good team win today. We wanted to come out today and get the three, three points and that’s what we did, and it’s awesome that we did it as a team today.” Vignola said postgame. “We basically just want to bury our past and move forward. If you keep looking back, you’re not going to get the results what you want to …”
Coach Pensky stressed the importance of procession after the match “We were at our best when we kept the ball and not chasing and not having to defend so much. We had to defend a lot against Alabama … I thought that moments where we were really active in trying to find it, we were really really good.”
Coach Pensky did provide an injury update. Salera Jordan and Wrenne French are both out for the season with ACL tears. Alicia Donley had torn ligaments in her ankle and will be out for “a good little while” in Coach’s words, but he didn’t rule out a late-season return. Coach did not mention Ochene Salón, who is typically a starter and when down with an injury last game. Ochene Salón was dressed and appeared ready as substitute, but she did not see any action.
The Volunteers are back in action this Thursday against Georgia. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Regal Soccer Stadium.