The No. 10 Lady Vols travel to Nashville Thursday for a matchup against in-state rival Vanderbilt.
Tennessee (13-1, 6-1) is on a six-game win streak and is looking to make it seven going into the final stretch of games in the regular season while continuing to solidify its resume.
“Right now at 13-1, our winning percentage is pretty darn good,” head coach Brian Pensky said. “We keep getting results and that will help that resume.”
Tennessee is coming off a scrappy 2-1 win against Mississippi State.
“We’re coming off a game where we really had to gut it out and compete and fight and scratch to hold off Mississippi State,” Pensky said. “While we scored 2 goals, we had a relatively low number of shots and chances against them."
“Some of that was us and some of that was the good stuff that Mississippi State did.”
While the Lady Vols got the win last week, they look to create more shots and opportunities against Vanderbilt.
“We’re hoping that we can be a little bit more dangerous than we were a week ago,” Pensky said. “But it’s going to be really hard because it’s against one of the stingiest teams in the league.”
Vanderbilt (6-7-2, 3-3-1) is outshooting opponents 201 to 135 on the season.
“They’re one of the best possession teams in the league,” Pensky said. “They love to have the ball. We want to make sure that we limit how dangerous they can be in those moments when they have the ball."
“We’ve got to make sure were organized and know our responsibilities defensively and limit the quality of their chances as best as possible.”
The Lady Vols have done well in limiting opponent opportunity this season, allowing just 9 goals through 14 games and boasting a .055 opponent shot percentage.
Vanderbilt is coming off a road loss against Ole Miss where the Rebels defeated the Commodores 1-0.
The Commodores’ record doesn’t show it, but a closer look at games shows that Vanderbilt has had some quality efforts against strong teams. Vanderbilt took No. 4 Arkansas to overtime, losing 1-0.
Vanderbilt also has quality wins over Kentucky, Missouri and Alabama.
“I think Vanderbilt can beat anyone in the league,” Pensky said. “They’ve beat a lot of top-25 teams. They have a lot of good players, they’re really good in possession and they don’t give up goals.”
Though Pensky’s squad hasn’t faced the Commodores this season, he believes the team will player similarly to South Carolina, a team the Lady Vols beat 1-0.
“Vanderbilt is similar to South Carolina in they like to keep the game in front of them and are organized defensively,” Pensky said. “It’s not easy to score goals on them."
“When we do get those chances, we’re going to have to make sure we’re clinical with them and make the most of those opportunities.”
Going into the final three games of the season, Pensky recognizes the opportunity the Lady Vols have to get three more quality wins to end the regular season.
“It’d be a win over our in-state rival, 3 more points in the league, a win in the SEC East, another win for our NCAA tournament resume,” Pensky said. “There would be a lot to be happy about coming back to Knoxville with a win.”
The Lady Vols and the Commodores will kickoff at 8 p.m. EST on Thursday.