Tennessee women’s soccer will face Bowling Green (0-1-1) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. EST at Regal Soccer Stadium.
The Lady Vols (0-2-1) are coming off a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to then No. 5 Duke. The Lady Vols led 2-0 with just 20 minutes remaining on the clock, but they were unable to finish the job.
“Going forward, it’s just continuing to build our confidence and holding ourselves to a standard,” head coach Joe Kirt said. “We’ve got to play for 90 minutes and we haven’t done that yet, so it’s about us and our ability to get better.”
Kirt is still looking for his first win as head coach after the Lady Vols opened the season on their toughest stretch of the schedule. Tennessee has faced three straight ranked opponents, including the current No. 1 and No. 2 teams.
“I think playing teams like this at the beginning of the season only show where we need to improve and they only make us better,” fifth-year senior Abby Burdette said following the loss. “I think we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and can only grow and continue to grow.”
Despite a tough beginning to the season, Tennessee now has a chance to regroup before SEC play, starting with Bowling Green. This is a must win for the Lady Vols in order to begin building momentum for the remainder of the season.
The Falcons will also be searching for their first win of the season in tonight’s contest. Bowling Green is picked to finish second in the MAC and are coming off a 11-7-3 season where it won the MAC in both the regular season and tournament.
This marks Tennessee’s third time playing a MAC school in its program’s history. Both previous matches were against Miami (Ohio), and the series between the two is tied at one win apiece.
The Vols return ten starters from last year’s Round of 16 squad, led by First Team All-Region forward Jaida Thomas. Thomas is the leading goal scorer on the team with two goals on the season. Her goal last week put her in a tie for sixth on the program’s all-time list, despite being just a junior.
The only other Lady Vol with a goal is reigning SEC Freshman of the year Taylor Huff. Huff has been consistent during the young season in getting the ball to the net with six shots, all six being on goal. Huff finally got one past the goalkeeper against Duke for the first goal of her sophomore campaign, which was a far-post header off of an assist from sophomore Claire Rain.
Huff and Thomas join four other Lady Vols on the SEC Preseason Watchlist. Fifth-year seniors Burdette and Mackenzie George, senior Lindsey Romig and junior Lawson Renie are the other Lady Vols on the watchlist and are all expected to produce at a high level throughout the course of the season.
Up next after Wednesday’s matchup with the Falcons will be Tennessee Tech on Sunday, September 4th at Regal Stadium at 7:00. p.m. EST.
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