No. 18 Tennessee soccer recorded a program record fifth straight clean sheet to propel the side to a 1-0 victory over Auburn Thursday night.
The Lady Vols' defense continued an impressive run of form with the Tennessee backline now keeping opponent teams scoreless for more than 450 minutes.
The run of clean sheets began with the team's important win against Ole Miss, who was undefeated at the time. The defense followed up the performance with clean sheets against Missouri, Georgia and LSU which has helped the Lady Vols climb in the rankings and gives Joe Kirt’s team a chance to win their third consecutive SEC East title.
The cooler weather did not affect either team's attack with both sides getting off early shots with the Lady Vols getting off three shots inside the opening six minutes. The teams continued to trade shots throughout the opening 45 minutes but the sides went into the half all squared up and it began to look like another frustrating night for the Tennessee attackers.
Substitute Kameron Simmonds had a great chance to give Tennessee the lead in the 72nd minute when Jordan Fusco rolled in an inviting ball to the strikers' feet. However, Simmonds failed to convert with her shot dragging across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
Simmonds did not make the same mistake just 90 seconds later. Jenna Stayart managed to turn and get away from three Auburn defenders around midfield and drove down the right-hand side. After laying the ball off, Simmonds ran at the Auburn defense and did well to get an inch of space on the right side of the 18-yard box to get a shot away. The shot got a bit of luck, hitting off the inside of the post and finding its way into the back of the net.
Auburn almost snatched a late equalizer after Claire Rain failed to clear her lines and gave Carly Thatcher a golden opportunity. Lindsey Romig made an important save with her feet at her near post to deny any late upset by the Tigers.
Tennessee now returns home to close out their SEC regular season with games against No. 21 South Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST and Vanderbilt on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. EST with all three teams still eyeing SEC East glory.
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