Tennessee soccer SEC Champions

The Tennessee soccer team poses after defeating Arkansas 3-0 and winning the SEC Tournament.

The No. 2 seed Tennessee soccer team defeated No. 1 Arkansas 3-0 in the SEC Tournament Championship game Sunday afternoon in Orange Beach, Alabama, winning the SEC for the first time since 2008 and the fifth time overall. 

Tennessee got revenge on Arkansas in the championship game, after falling to the Razorbacks 3-1 in its SEC opener back in September. It’s worth noting that Tennessee shut out Arkansas Sunday, that same team that ended Tennessee’s record shutout streak earlier in the regular season. 

Redshirt sophomore Jaida Thomas and senior Wrenne French were forces to be reckoned with. Thomas had a goal on 2 shots while also recording an assist. French had a goal on shots — all 3 shots were on goal. 

The first half went back and forth until French used her head to score on a corner kick from Hannah Zaluski in the 42nd minute. The Vols had 11 shots and corner kicks in the first halfJunior goalkeeper Lindsey Romig also had a save. Tennessee controlled the pace of the first 45 minutes, allowing Arkansas to total only 7 shots and 2 corner kicks. 

The second period displayed how physical SEC soccer can be, especially with a championship on the line. In the 49th minute, Romig had two impressive saves in a span of seconds that kept the Vols ahead. 

In the 50th minute, Arkansas’ Reagan Swindall received the first yellow card of the game. Immediately after the foul, Thomas scored on an assist by freshman Claire Rain. That goal — Thomas fifth of the tournament — doubled the Lady Vols’ lead. She is now up to a team-high 13 goals this season. 

In the 67th minute, senior Hannah Tillett found the net for the second time this season after an assist by Thomas, putting the game out of reach. 

The Vols only had shots in the second, and they finished the game with 15 shots totalArkansas outshot Tennessee with 17 total, but Romig’s saves ensured Tennessee’s 11th shutout of the season. 

Mackenzie George, French, Abbey Burdette and Thomas were named to the SEC All-Tournament Team. Burdette was named the tournament’s MVP. 

The Vols will return to Knoxville and await the results of the NCAA DI Soccer Selection Show on Monday at 4:30 p.m. EST. 

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