Aug. 26, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In front of the fifth-largest crowd in Regal Soccer Stadium history (2,046) on the opening evening of the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic, the Tennessee Lady Vol soccer squad battled valiantly but saw its upset bid undone by #8 UCLA scores at 80:27 and 84:22 as the Bruins rallied for a 2-1 victory.
For the match UCLA out-shot the Lady Vols, 21-11, but led Tennessee only 7-4 in both shots on frame and corner kicks.
UT freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel made five saves between the pipes, while her counterpart, UCLA's Katelyn Rowland, stopped three shots.
The Bruin offense controlled the opening few minutes of the contest as a pair of shots from UCLA forward Rosie White at 1:50 and 2:19 forced Eckel into quick action.
The Lady Vols soon began to settle into the flow of the match as sophomore forward Caroline Brown fired a shot on goal during the eighth minute, while Hatcher soon followed with a long blast of her own from outside the 18 that necessitated a Rowland stop at 13:22.
Tennessee senior forward Emily Dowd got away from her marker at 16:37 as the Gainesville, Fla., native began a breakaway toward UCLA's goal. Unfortunately for UT, Rowland charged quickly off her line and raced way out to slide and disrupt Dowd's drive toward frame as she failed to get off a shot.
The Orange & White shooting gallery continued over the next few minutes of play as junior midfielder Amy Harrison fired on frame at 18:29, and Dowd blasted wide of frame during the 20th minute as the scoreless dead-lock continued.
The best early chance for the Lady Vols occurred at 20:21 as a lazer from approximately 22 yards out on the right wing by Brown ricocheted off the inside of the left post before being cleared.
UCLA raced right back down the pitch to post its own threat during the 23rd minute as forward Sydney Leroux managed to get a step behind her marker and break in on net. Eckel roared off her line and slid just outside the six-yard box to break up the Bruin's breakaway and contain any rebound.
With action ranging from end-to-end, the next best scoring opportunity came at 32:24 as a UCLA player managed to beat her defender near the left end line and crossed quickly in front of goal. Ally Courtnall was waiting for the feed and just chipped the ball over the crossbar for a harmless goal kick.
In the opening half's final seconds it appeared as if the Bruins had gone in front as a cross from the right wing was blasted home near the left post. The sideline official had his flag up, however, to signal that UCLA was offside as the two teams ventured to the break at 0-0.
Much as they had done in the first half, UCLA's offense had the best of the run of play to begin the second stanza as Leroux missed wide at 47:06 and had a shot blocked by UT's defense at 49:15.
During the 52nd minute Leroux unleashed another drive from about 16 yards out in the middle that Eckel stopped. The ball escaped from her grasp, however, and rolled over toward the right post as UT's rookie net-minder quickly raced over and dove to corral the rebound before an approaching Bruin player could fire off a shot.
Tennessee's opening salvo of the second half was a big one as Hatcher took a feed from Bono out on the right side of frame. With UCLA's keeper apparently expecting a cross, Hatcher absolutely ripped a bending drive right inside the upright from a ridiculously sharp angle to grant the Big Orange a 1-0 advantage.
Just two minutes later the Lady Vol lead nearly expanded to two scores as Brown fed a pass from the right wing towards the left post. Dowd was making a late run and ended up mere inches from a potential tap-in as her sliding try drifted just wide.
The Bruins finally managed an equalizer at 80:27 as a feed from Courtnall from the middle of the 18 towards the right post was settled by forward Zakiya Bywaters about five yards out. She pivoted quickly and managed to beat Eckel from a sharp angle to dead-lock the count at 1-1.
During the 82nd minute Bono had a golden chance to push Tennessee back in front, but saw her drive from out front blocked by a UCLA defender.
With regulation time beginning to run short a shot by UCLA midfielder Sam Mewis was deflected by Eckel but the sphere bounced back into play. Leroux found herself in the right spot near the left post to clean up the deflection from six yards out and complete the 2-1, comeback victory.
The Big Orange returns to the pitch on Sun., Aug. 28, on the final day of the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic to battle #18 Texas A&M at 11:30 a.m. ET. #8/7 Florida will face-off against #15/8 UCLA in the event's final contest immediately following at approximately 1:30 p.m. ET.