Junior midfielder Julie Edwards
Sept. 27, 2009
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
BATON ROUGE, La. - A quick-strike offense that resulted in LSU (6-2-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) scoring four unanswered first-half goals guided the Tigers past Tennessee (5-4-1, 1-1 SEC), 5-1, on a extremely hot Sunday afternoon at the LSU Soccer Complex in Baton Rouge, La.
The Bayou Bengals only out-shot the Lady Vols, 12-11, but made their seven shots on goal count with five scores. UT senior forward Mick Imgram got the Big Orange on the scoreboard in the second half with a long free kick from about 30 yards out that beat LSU keeper Mo Isom at 81:45. Tennessee managed five shots on frame with Imgram managing three of those. Freshman midfielder Amy Harrison and sophomore forward Emily Dowd each contributed one shot on goal.
"Give a ton of credit to LSU," Lady Vol head coach Angela Kelly said. "They punished us for early mistakes and out of seven shots on goal, they scored five times. We can't continue to turn the ball over as much, have to learn to pay better attention to small details and take more personal responsibility for developing our game."
The match opened as a tactical battle in the opening minutes as neither team seemed willing to stretch themselves too far into the attacking third and perhaps make an early mistake.
At just 6:42 into the contest, LSU's Rachel Yepez put her personal stamp on the contest. The forward received a feed in the middle of the pitch, battled into the 18-yard box one-on-one and dribbled left while being marked closely by a UT defender. Finding a little space, she booted a left-footed shot toward the far post, sliding it in the twine past diving junior goalkeeper Molly Baird for a quick 1-0 lead.
Just over two minutes later at 8:48, Yepez was at it again as she battled free of her defender in the right side of the six-yard box, corralled a free ball and delivered a shot just inside the right post as the Bayou Bengals nabbed a shocking two-goal advantage.
The Big Orange managed their initial shot and shot on goal at the 11:47 mark as sophomore forward Chelsea Hatcher fired a long right-footed shot from the middle of the pitch about 24 yards out that rolled wide left of frame.
In the 18th minute, the Tigers nearly made it 3-0 as a cross from the left wing dropped right in the middle of the 18-yard zone to LSU midfielder Malorie Rutledge. She volleyed at the ball with her right foot and mis-hit it as the shot traveled well over the top of the frame.
Imgram and Hatcher forced saves by LSU netminder Mo Isom in the 23rd and 25th minutes, respectively. Imgram's blast came from well outside the top of the 18, while Hatcher ripped one from about 20 yards out on the right wing that threatened the near post.
More pressure from the Tigers resulted in another goal for the Tigers at 29:26 as Rutledge beat her marker up the right wing and crossed a perfect ball from just inside the end line to the middle of the pitch. LSU's Kellie Murphy found herself in perfect position near the penalty spot and headed the ball into the right side of the net past the diving Baird as the Bayou Bengals improved their lead to 3-0.
Trying to fight back into the match, UT received a free kick off a foul from well out on the right near the sideline. Imgram took the kick and placed a good cross into the crowd standing inside the 18. Sophomore Emily Shore appeared to mis-hit her shot, slightly fanning on it, and the carom off a defender in front traveled right to sophomore Emily Dowd approximately eight yards out in the center. The Gainesville, Fla., native was forced to stretch to shoot, sliding as she got her right foot on the sphere. Unfortunately for the Orange, Isom managed to corral the ball for a save.
Another LSU foul deep in its defensive zone in the 39th minute granted the Lady Vols another offensive chance. Imgram drilled a ball from about 20 yards out past the Tiger wall out in front, but Isom touched it wide for a corner kick.
The Bayou Bengal offense continued its staggering efficiency at 40:07 as Rutledge made it 4-0 on just LSU's fifth shot on goal in the match by making a long run up the right wing, out-racing her marker and scoring unassisted.
Right out of the locker room break at 47:17, Tennessee freshman forward Jayden Barrett created a chance out on the left wing in the offensive third by beating a pair of defenders with a step-over move and racing right between them. Her shot from a tough angle, however, hit the side of the netting for a goal kick.
The Tigers failed on two more scoring chances as Yepez missed on a centering pass to a wide-open teammate with approximately 37 minutes left and then her shot from the right side drifted just wide left of the net at 60:18.
Baird kept LSU from adding to its advantage in the 62nd minute with an outstanding personal effort, racing off her line to influence three potential opportunities by different Tiger offensive players and keep them from being credited with an official shot.
The Big Orange had a golden opportunity to get on the board off a corner at 65:24 as Shore lobbed a cross into the 18-yard box. After ping-ponging around via numerous headers from players on both sides, freshman midfielder Amy Harrison managed to head a shot from just inside the six-yard zone on frame that was definitely past the keeper and headed into the net. A Tiger defender managed to save the ball off the goal line, however, and away from harm as LSU maintained its four-tally lead.
With approximately 14 minutes remaining in the match, freshman midfielder Kylie Bono managed to locate some space on the right wing in Tennessee's offensive third. The Yorba Linda, Calif., product crossed a ball right at Hatcher who was racing into the penalty area, but Isom charged off her line to out-leap the UT offense and corral the sphere.
The late UT pressure continued as Dowd missed wide left with a shot attempt at 78:08 and wide right on a chance during the 79th minute.
A foul call on the Tigers in Tennessee's offensive zone in the 82nd minute paid dividends for the Lady Vols as Imgram absolutely hammered a blast from around 30-35 yards out off a free kick that easily beat Isom. The goal cut LSU's advantage to 4-1 and marked Imgram's team-best sixth score of the season and 19th of her career in the Orange & White.
The Tigers quickly responded on offense, however, as midfielder Natalie Ieyoub beat a couple of UT defenders up the middle of the pitch and fired on goal. Baird made the save, but the rebound ricocheted towards the far post where Tricia Johnson was waiting to routinely chip the ball into the net for a 5-1 LSU advantage.
Tennessee had one final chance late to get another score, but a cross into the penalty area that caromed off a couple of players out in front resulted in the ball traveling harmlessly just past the left post and out of play.
Tennessee wraps up its season-long, five-match road swing next weekend over Oct. 2 & 4th at Vanderbilt (Friday at 8 p.m. ET) and Kentucky (Sunday at Noon ET). The Kentucky match is slated to broadcast live by Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) with live stats available for both matches through utladyvols.com.