Sept. 29, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --After Alabama scored three times in the first half, UT freshman Amy Neal scored goals in the 54th and 63rd minutes, but the Tennessee's second-half rally fell short in a 4-2 loss to the Crimson Tide on Sunday.
Tennessee fell to 6-3-2 and 1-1-1 in SEC play. Alabama is now 4-6-0 and 2-1-0 in conference play.
Alabama took a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute when Molly Atherton shook a defender in the box and scored on a shot to the near post.
After the Crimson Tide's score, Tennessee came storming back the other way with several attacks over the next few minutes. In the ninth minute, Hannah Wilkinson had a shot from the top of the box go just over the crossbar. In the 10th minute, Wilkinson had a nice through ball into the box to Tori Bailey, who fired a shot in that Alabama keeper Emily Rusk tapped away with her foot. CC Cobb fired a shot wide in the 11th minute.
Michelle Christy made a big header save in the 15th minute. Coming off an Alabama corner, Sophie Campise tried to head in a ball near the right post but Christy was there next to Eckel to head the ball away.
Alabama's lead grew to 2-0 in the 29th minute after a foul was called in the box on UT. Allie Sirna and a Crimson Tide attacker were battling for the ball on the far right side of the box when the foul was called on Sirna. Laura Lee Smith converted the PK to push the Crimson Tide's lead to 2-0.
In the 31st minute, Alabama went up 3-0 when Pia Rijsdijk scored on a breakaway. Katie Bourgeois had the assist.
At the half, Alabama had an 8-5 edge on shots and 3-2 edge on corners.
Tennessee was aggressive coming out of the break. Wilkinson had a shot go wide left in the 49th and Caroline Brown had a show go wide right on the ground in the 51st.
Neal got Tennessee on the scoreboard in the 54th minute. After an Alabama foul outside the right side of the box, CC Cobb sent in a nice ball and Neal rushed in to punch in the score from about five yards out. The score was Neal's first of her Tennessee career.
Neal struck again in the 63rd minute punching in a ball from Bailey from the left side of the box to bring UT to within 3-2.
In the 70th minute, Alabama became the first Tennessee opponent to score in the second half when Kendall Khanna sent one in on a tight angle to the right post.
UT continued to fight for the final 20 minutes as Wilkinson fired shots in the 73rd and 76th minutes and Bailey had a shot blocked in the box at the 75th-minute mark.
Tennessee outshot the Crimson Tide, 15-10, including 10 shots to UA's two in the second half. UT also had a 5-4 edge on corner kicks. Eckel made two saves and fell to 6-2-2 with the loss. Wilkinson led the team with five shots while Neal and Bailey had two apiece.
Sunday's match marked Amalie Thestrup's first career start.
UT's next home match is on Oct. 4 against Ole Miss at 7 p.m. The first 750 fans in attendance at Regal Soccer Stadium will receive a free Tennessee Soccer flag.