Sophomore midfielder Chelsea Hatcher
Sept. 13, 2009
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In front of 769 fans on a sun-splashed Sunday at the Regal Soccer Stadium, Tennessee Lady Vol senior forward Mick Imgram provided a replay of her late match heroics from Friday with another late game-winning goal, this one coming at 83:01, to defeat Western Carolina, 2-1. With the victory, UT improved to 4-2-1 and is currently riding a four-match unbeaten streak.
Sophomore forward Emily Dowd delivered her third assist of the year as part of Imgram's team-best fourth goal and third match-winner of the campaign. Sophomore midfielder Chelsea Hatcher tallied for the first time this season off a feed from freshman defender Ali Hall (second assist) in the 31st minute to even the contest at 1-1.
Tennessee outshot the Catamounts by a staggering 29-3 total and managed seven shots on frame. Lady Vol junior goalkeeper Molly Baird was forced to make just one save in recording her fourth win of the year, while for Western Carolina, netminder Caitlin Williams made four saves.
"I think Western Carolina is a tough team to break down," Lady Vol assistant coach Joe Kirt said. "Their goalkeeper is tough. Give credit to their squad, they found a way to keep a lot of our shots out of the net despite us having 29. With Mick (Imgram) we expect contributions from her like this. She has the ability to take a match over and win it. That's why she's here at Tennessee, and that's what we expect from an upperclassman. Our backline continues to improve as witnessed by our two shutouts last weekend in Minnesota and by this weekend's effort. We allowed only three shots in this match. That was a full team effort."
The beginning of the match witnessed a bit of a feeling-out process and neither team got anything going offensively until 2:35 when Tennessee forced the first of its 12 corner kicks in the contest. Imgram served a ball into the 18-yard box to Hatcher, who turned and fired a shot straight at WCU netminder Williams. The ball hit the keeper in the hands, shot straight up into the air and dropped right back into her arms for a save.
The Catamounts stunned the home crowd early on, however, as forward Shannon Fowkes got free on the left wing and managed to dribble all the way into the edge of the six-yard box. At point blank range, she unleashed a shot that Baird managed to deflect. Unfortunately for the Big Orange, the rebound traveled straight to WCU forward Rachael Shomper at the near post, and she buried it into the twine for a stunning, 1-0 lead.
From that point on the Tennessee offense had the run-of-play, making Williams perhaps feel as if were in her own personal shooting gallery. Of course, the Western Carolina netminder entered today's match having made a career-high 14 saves in WCU's last match against Dayton.
Imgram forced a save at 4:50, junior defender Melissa Speros had a shot blocked at 12:05 and both Dowd and freshman forward Jayden Barrett had blasts drift wide of goal in the 16th and 19th minutes, respectively.
After three more Tennessee shots failed to find the mark, the Big Orange finally found paydirt at 30:10 to even the match-up at 1-1.
Dribbling up the middle of the pitch, Hall delivered a through ball to the feet of Hatcher. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native moved into the 18-yard zone and drilled a shot from approximately 12 yards out to the left of a diving Williams.
The shots continued as UT nearly nabbed the lead right before the break. Hall managed to hit the right post from just out in front of WCU's goal with 3:25 left in the half, while Hatcher's follow-up on the rebound went wide.
With just 23 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, Lady Vol junior midfielder Tanya Emerson found herself with a golden opportunity to score. Unfortunately her shot, that would have surely been a goal, was saved off the goal line by the Western Carolina defense as the teams headed to the break tied at 1-1.
Tennessee out-shot the visitors, 14-2, over the opening 45 minutes of action and managed four corners to put continued pressure on WCU.
Talking about pressure, UT exerted it right from the start of the second frame, forcing consecutive corners at 48:40 and 49:02. Shots from Hatcher and freshman midfielder Amy Harrison were both blocked out in front by the Western Carolina defense.
In the 58th minute, Emerson received a perfect ball off the right wing from sophomore midfielder Emily Shore and managed a shot from about 12 yards that traveled straight into the arms of a diving Williams as the pair eventually collided. The Capistrano Beach, Calif., native continued her strong effort by registering another opportunity at 61:45, but fired just high.
Senior defender Sarah Jackyra had a shot blocked off a corner kick at 66:15, and Imgram followed with yet another blocked chance at 66:38.
Freshman forwards Alexis Owens and Barrett created some excitement for the Lady Vol offense in the 77th and 79th minutes, respectively. Owens made a run up the right wing and crossed to the middle. Junior Anna Fisher, seeing her first action of the season following an off-season injury, stretched towards the cross, but just missed getting her right boot on it. Barrett won a slick one-on-one battle against her defender near the right end line, advanced on the near post and crossed through the six-yard zone. Emerson corralled the ball and blasted a shot, but it again traveled right to Williams for the save.
The Orange & White finally broke the deadlock at 83:01 as Dowd made a run up the left side. She crossed through the six-yard box to Imgram, who was standing right on the doorstep. The Clifton, Va., native beat the goalie with a low roller back to the far post as Tennessee nabbed the all-important 2-1 advantage.
UT's defense took over from there to wrap up the victory. In fact, Tennessee allowed just a single shot for the Catamounts during the second stanza as midfielder Shanna Schmoker had a blast blocked out in front of the net at 81:24.
Tennessee returns to the road next weekend, facing a huge match-up at No. 12 West Virginia. Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m. ET on Sun., Sept. 20th, with the live broadcast slated to be shown on the West Virginia Public Broadcasting System. Live stats will be available through utladyvols.com.