Tennessee soccer preview 10.14

The team meets briefly during the match against Missouri at Regal Soccer Stadium on Oct. 7, 2022.

No. 16 Tennessee soccer returns to Knoxville to welcome the LSU Tigers who hope for a quick turnaround after a big defeat last time out.

The Lady Vols were victorious in their busy schedule last week, recording wins at Missouri and Georgia to push Tennessee up into No. 16. The 2-0 win against Georgia was the team's fourth in a row and with the pointy end of this season fast approaching, the SEC preseason favorites are finding their rhythm at the right time.

“Obviously a tough road game down in Georgia, they're a good team,” Tennessee head coach Joe Kirt said. “I thought our team came out and did everything we asked of them, they were organized and connected and created a ton of chances in the second half. [It was a] really good performance on the road.”

In what was a very cagey and defensive affair, neither Tennessee nor Georgia established an upper hand early on. Lindsey Roming, who was named this week's SEC Defensive Player of the Week, had a quieter game being called into action only three times.

The deadlock was broken in the 77th minute when senior Claudia Dipasupil tapped in the opening goal. The sequence began with a long throw-in by Taylor Huff into the chest of Jaida Thomas who got a shot away on the half-turn. Georgia’s goalkeeper Liz Beardsley got down to her right and parried the ball away but right in the path of the oncoming Dipasupil who reacted quicker than her defender, who was unbeknown of Dipasupil’s presence.

Just 40 seconds later, Jadia Thomas ensured all three points when Huff squared the ball in to Thomas who didn’t falter to score her 12th goal of the season. Thomas remains the leading goal scorer in the SEC ahead of Alabama’s Riley Mattingly Parker who trails by one goal.

LSU is coming off a heavy 5-0 home defeat at the hands of No. 2 Alabama last Sunday afternoon. It was a disappointing week for the Tigers, who failed to get a win in either of their games with the side having to come from behind to salvage a draw against Texas A&M, which sits at the bottom of the SEC West.

LSU is currently in the midst of a three-game run where they face a top-25 opponent. They played No. 2 Alabama last time out and play No. 7 Arkansas away after Tennessee. With games against fellow SEC West opponents Auburn and Ole Miss to round out their league fixtures, LSU faces a tough end to the season and will need to battle to ensure their place at the SEC tournament later this month.

It has been four years since these two sides have faced off, with the last encounter requiring penalties to separate the sides. It was the 2018 SEC Quarterfinal when then No. 7 LSU knocked off No. 2 Tennessee 7-6 on penalties and ultimately went on to win the tournament. Prior to that match, Tennessee hadn’t lost to the Tigers in the last five matches. LSU has never won in Knoxville dating back to 1996 according to UT Sports records.

“It's going to be a challenging game both from a tactical standpoint as well as the level of competitiveness,” Kirt said. “We’ve got four games left in the league and they’re all against good teams that we gotta show up and get results against.”

The match will kick off at 7 p.m. ET at Regal Soccer Stadium and can be streamed on SEC+.

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