The No. 10 Lady Vols defeated Georgia 3-1 Sunday night in a game that proved to be big in the race for the SEC East.
Tennessee was led by Cariel Ellis and Mackenzie George’s goals along with a late score from Jaida Thomas to seal it.
Here are three takeaways from Tennessee’s statement win over the Bulldogs.
Gabor comes in clutch
Midway through the first half goalkeeper Lindsey Romig – who is responsible for eight clean sheets on the season – had to leave the game after colliding with a Georgia forward.
Ashley Gabor, who has not seen the field much this season, came in to finish out the game for the Lady Vols.
Gabor allowed one goal, but also came up with 4 huge saves, including a pair late in the game that prevented the Bulldogs from evening the score.
While there isn’t a timetable for Romig’s return just yet, the Lady Vols are in good hands with Gabor in goal.
“If she did have any kind of nerves or anxiety, she’ll be ready to go on Thursday,” head coach Brian Pensky said.
Momentum before halftime
With just 10 seconds remaining in the first half, Ellis scored a header off the corner to give the Lady Vols their first goal and a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
Ellis’s first goal of the season was a big one. It gave the Lady Vols a 1-0 lead as well as a tremendous amount of confidence heading into halftime after an exciting goal to end the half.
“She hadn’t scored a goal for us yet,” Pensky said. “So for her first to come with her head in a game like this where the SEC East title is on the line with eight seconds left in the half, it sends us into the locker room with massive energy and it sends them into the locker room probably with their heads down trying to find the energy."
“Cariel created the energy for us. That’s a big deal and it certainly makes the coaches job a lot easier.”
The energy from the goal translated early on in the second half, as the Lady Vols scored 10 minutes into the second half.
George-Thomas connection on point
Throughout the season, the duo of Mackenzie George and Jaida Thomas have connected on offense and lit up the score board. Tonight, the two had a pair of great plays to push the Lady Vols past the Bulldogs.
In the 56th minute, George landed a goal off an assist from Thomas to put the Lady Vols up 2-0.
Georgia brought it within one goal shortly after, but Thomas put it away late in the game with a goal to put the Lady Vols up 3-1. Thomas’s goal came off an assist from George.
Thomas now has 8 goals on the season, and George has 9 assists. The Lady Vols are sure to look to this duo for offensive spark heading into the postseason.