Brown's PK Lifts UT Past #20 A&M, 1-0

Sept. 20, 2013

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --Caroline Brown scored in the 32nd minute off penalty kick to lift the Tennessee soccer team to a 1-0 home win over No. 20 Texas A&M on Friday in the SEC opener for both teams.

UT (6-2-1, 1-0 SEC) improved to 3-0 all-time over the Aggies (5-3-1, 0-1 SEC). Tennessee has now 2-0 against ranked teams this year.

"I am so happy for our kids," UT head coach Brian Pensky said. "They played two things. I thought that their soccer in the first half was very good, I thought that our possession was very good. We knew Texas A&M is a fast, fit team. They are a punch-you-in-the-mouth kind of team. They want to come after you right away. We had a choice, we could to try to punch them in the mouth back or we could sit back. And we wanted to play to prove that we are a good team and to prove that we can compete and battle. We wanted to prove that we could win a real ball and things like that. Our soccer, you saw it on the scoreboard and you saw it in the stats, we were the better team. I thought we deserved to be up one to nothing. So I am very proud of our kids."

In the 32nd minute, a Texas A&M defender fouled Katie Lenz inside the box to set up the penalty kick for Brown. Brown punched in the PK to the upper left.

By Brian Canever,

Tennessee showcased its team versatility on Friday night, attacking in the first half and standing its ground in the second half to defeat No. 20 Texas A&M.

In the first half, the team was phenomenal in holding possession, pressuring their opponents and creating situations for forwards Caroline Brown and Amy Neal to be dangerous up top. The breakthrough eventually came off a composed penalty kick by Brown, who carried Tennessee offensively.

"It gave us a lot of confidence," the senior said about her goal. "We knew we had to bring everything we had. Now, I think we know we can do the same thing against every other team in the SEC."

The Volunteers outshot the Aggies, 7-4, in the first 45 minutes, and were rarely threatened. After halftime, UT locked down on defense as A&M upped its offensive pressure.

The speed and width of the desperate Texas A&M attack created 11 shots to Tennessee's one. Outstanding goalkeeping from Julie Eckel, and another stout showing from the back line of Allie Sirna, Megan Erskine, Brittany Wade--all playing the full 90 minutes--and makeshift left back Susan Ferguson protected the lead until the clock read all zeros.

"Today, they played with an edge and they played good soccer and deserved to win," UT head coach Brian Pensky said. "It's all about commitment to details."

The good soccer the Volunteers have been playing all season and displayed in the huge win at No. 17 UCF showed in the first half. The second half featured the edge Tennessee lacked in the losses to Middle Tennessee and Samford, and in last Sunday's tie against Western Kentucky.

Julie Eckel improved to 6-2-1 on the year and notched her 22nd career shutout. Allie Sirna led another outstanding performance by the UT back line, which stymied a potent Texas A&M attack all night.

UT benefitted from a very strong first half in which the Volunteers had great possession and great offensive pressure. In the first half, Tennessee had seven shots to A&M's four and four corner kicks to just one for the Aggies.

Susan Ferguson fired the first shot of the match in the ninth minute from just outside the left side of the box. Aggies keeper Jordan Day had to step out from the far post to corral a shot that was curving inside on goal.

Cheyenne Spade had a good shot in the 17th minute, firing to the upper left to force Day to move to deflect it.

Eckel recorded her first save in the 21st minute when Karlie Mueller booted a free kick from 15 yards out that was right on goal.

Early in the second half, Eckel made an outstanding save to prevent a potential equalizer. Leigh Edwards ripped a shot from outside the box and Eckel leaped to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Brown, Spade and Tori Bailey each had two shots in the game. Katie Lenz played 77 big minutes off the bench and her aggressive play created opportunities for her teammates.

Tennessee continues SEC play on Sept. 27 against LSU in Baton Rouge, La. UT's next home match is on Oct. 4 against Ole Miss. The first 750 fans at the UT-Ole Miss game will receive a free Tennessee Soccer flag.





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