Soccer vs. Xavier

Mackenzie George (31) on the defense against Xavier University in Regal Stadium on Feb. 28, 2021.

On Sunday, Tennessee fell short in a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati in a hectic, highly competitive matchup.

The game was the first time the Volunteers took the pitch in over two weeks following their postponement against one of the nation's best in North Carolina due to a positive COVID-19 test.

The pace of the game was uptempo to start, and remained that way for the majority of the game until Tennessee started to take control around the 65th minute. Despite Tennessee’s late found success, neither team was able to seize a majority of possession for any significant portion of the game which led to a lot of running back and forth for both sides.  

Tennessee continues to find success off set pieces this year as a free kick led to their best chance of the first half. Forward Jaida Thomas did her best to control the ball off an awkward bounce. She turned to face the goal from about eight yards out and put the shot just wide to the left as she was under duress from the Cincinnati defense. 

Tennessee caught a tough break in the 75th minute when the Bearcats were able to string a couple passes together on a counter strike eventually earning a penalty kick at the end of the attack. The Bearcat striker was able to put the penalty past Lindsey Romig in goal to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead.

But Tennessee did not let up. Two minutes later forward Mackenzie George corralled a bouncing ball and took off down the left side of the pitch. She beat one Bearcat defender and took a shot from just outside the 18 yard box. The shot ricocheted off a defender, was tipped by the goalie, bounced off the post, and trickled in to tie the game for the Volunteers. 

The deciding goal of the match was scored on a header by sophomore Kendall Battle in the 83rd minute. Battle timed her run perfectly and was the recipient of a beautiful ball played in the air to the back post where she headed it home to give Cincinnati a 2-1 lead. 

Tennessee fought hard for the last seven minutes of the game but was unable to find the equalizing goal.

The Vols will be back in action next weekend when they square off with North Carolina on Saturday, March 27 with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. ET at Regal Soccer Stadium in Knoxville.

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