This Sunday, the Lady Volunteers soccer team (6-4-1) welcomed the Alabama Crimson Tide (5-4-1) into Regal Soccer Stadium. Both teams entered 0-2 in SEC play.
Alabama won the game by a score of 2-1 in the 2nd overtime, but the score was deceiving due to the stellar play of Lindsey Romig in goal for the Vols. Alabama dominated possession and outshot Tennessee 29-11. The Vols fought injury problems with four players going down and not returning to the game.
Romig started in goal and played all 105 minutes. Also playing the entire game were Maria Nelson, Claire Franks and Maya Neal. Abby Burdette, Wrenne French and Mackenzie Georgia clocked in 92, 95 and 97 minutes respectively. Senior Katie Cousins played 37 minutes after missing the last two games with a recurring knee injury, but didn’t seem to be playing at 100%.
Tennessee earned a corner kick in the sixth minute and a free kick opportunity in the 15th minute but nothing came of either.
In the 17th minute, midfielder Sonia Ochene Salón went down with an injury. She returned but left the game in the 21st after being unable to continue.
Tennessee conceded an Alabama corner in the 22nd minute. Tennessee was able to counterattack. They earned a corner shot which resulted in a screamer shot by MA Vignola that was tipped out by the goalie, resulting in another Tennessee corner that the Vols could not convert.
Alabama had a fantastic shot attempt in the 31st minute by Carlee Giammona but the goal was prevented by a spectacular goal line clearance by Tennessee’s Maya Neal.
Alabama’s Riley Mattingly had a perfect opportunity in the 38th minute but her shot was turned away by Romig. The resulting corner was unplayable.
Vignola went down with an injury in the 51st minute and in the aftermath, head coach Brian Pensky appeared to get into a heated discussion with a referee on the no-call.
Alabama and Tennessee both had shots in the 58th minute but neither side could convert. Alabama played more aggressive following that. Their pressure led to shots in the 60th, 63rd, and 65th minutes as well as additional attempts into the final third of the pitch.
Alabama’s Serena Pham was able to break the deadlock in favor by converting a penalty kick in the 71st minute. The goal was Serena Pham’s first career goal for the Tide.
With three minutes left, Tennessee leveled the game with a goal by Alicia Donley.
Donley was able to knock in the ball on the rebound of the initial shot on goal. Donley was able to get another shot off in the 78th but this time the ball was blocked by the Alabama keeper.
In the 79th minute, Pham had another great shot but it was turned away by Romig. Immediately after, Donley went out with an injury.
Alabama created multiple chances late in the game, registering two shots each in the 84th and 86th minutes, as well as a perfect chance in the 87th minute, but the game would require overtime.
Alabama’s Casey Wertz had a 92nd-minute shot that banged off the crossbar but the Tide couldn’t do anything with the rebound.
Tennessee’s Wrenne French became the fourth injured Volunteer when she left the game in the 104th minute.
Alabama clinched the well-deserved win in the 105th minute when Nealy Martin headed the ball in off the second of two consecutive Alabama corners.
“I feel so horribly for them to not at least get out of here with a point, you know. They left it all out there, right. It’s a hot day, right,” Coach Pensky said postgame. “We all have to look in the mirror, and evaluate and judge and measure the job we did. And, I feel like those kids can look in the mirror and feel pretty proud of their efforts today and I’m thankful for that.”
The Vols Soccer Team will be back in action and looking to get their first conference win next Sunday at home against Kentucky. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. and will broadcast on the SEC Network.