Sophomore midfielder Emily Shore
Oct. 18, 2009
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - With a season-high 1,332 fans bundled up on a sunny, cold and breezy afternoon at the Regal Soccer Stadium, the Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team (7-6-3, 3-3-2 Southeastern Conference) registered the most shots (19) put up this season against South Carolina's top-rated defense and got the league-leading 10th goal of the year from senior forward Mick Imgram, but dropped a tough 2-1 decision to the fifth-ranked Gamecocks (14-1-1, 6-1-1 SEC).
The Big Orange out-shot S.C., 19-16, for the match, including 11-7 during the final 45 minutes of action. Imgram tallied three of UT's seven total shots on frame, while sophomore midfielder Chelsea Hatcher posted three. Junior goalkeeper Molly Baird recorded a trio of saves in the contest for the Lady Vols.
"I'm very frustrated with today's result," Lady Vol head coach Angela Kelly said. "That's because there was a lapse in our pressure for about 15 minutes during the first half. Then after South Carolina got the first goal, I felt that we were pressing for the next 20 minutes. We didn't compete at the level I know we can compete. Our players have to understand that they have to bring it every day, despite whatever emotion they might have used in a big match on Friday night. I think our team has now heard that message loud and clear."
The Orange & White wasted little time posting some offensive pressure, drawing back-to-back corner kicks in the opening minute of play. On the second of those, Hatcher leapt high in the air and headed a shot that missed just wide right of the woodwork.
The Gamecocks answered right back as a long through ball from near midfield found the feet of midfielder Lindsay Small. With a step on her marker, she fired a point-blank shot that Baird stopped, and the rebound was quickly cleared out of danger by the UT backline. On a subsequent corner kick for S.C., Small again fired from close range on the left wing but missed wide left.
After a South Carolina header by forward Shannon Bigbie went wide, Tennessee's got a strong run up the right wing from sophomore midfielder Lara Langworthy. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native crossed to the left post where junior midfielder Tanya Emerson was waiting. She managed a header toward goal, but the last Gamecock defender managed to block the ball as it never made its way to the keeper.
The Garnet and White settled in for a brief period, controlling the action in the attacking third. Forward Kayla Grimsley had a shot saved at 8:35, one blocked at 13:13 and then forward Brooke Jacobs shot high at 16:08.
During the 20th minute a bad South Carolina defensive play just past midfield out on the right wing allowed the Big Orange to get an attack going. Imgram swiped the ball, turned and raced toward goal. Trailing the play was freshman forward Jayden Barrett, but Imgram's cross to the middle was just a little too far in front as the last Gamecock defender managed to clear it away.
Freshman midfielder Ali Hall followed just a few minutes later with a left-footed shot from the left wing that was blocked.
Unfortunately, the Gamecock offense countered with a long run by Grimsley up the right wing. She managed to penetrate deeply into the penalty area, before unleashing a shot from about seven yards out that beat Baird from a tough angle for a 1-0 lead.
That's when the match took a turn for the bizarre as a rare play occurred during a Tennessee attack in South Carolina's 18-yard box. Hatcher fired a shot that was initially saved by South Carolina netminder Mollie Patton. The rebound traveled back out a few yards where a S.C. defender passed it back to Patton who then picked it up. That was an illegal move, resulting in an indirect free kick from about 8 yards out in the middle of the pitch. With virtually the entire Gamecock squad allowed to stand in the mouth of the goal, Hatcher set up for a short free kick. On the UT player's approach to the ball, Patton was permitted to race off her line. She managed to block the shot and then the sphere was cleared out of harm's way.
Hatcher got some space in the 37th minute after a long pass found her racing up the left wing. Patton came well out of goal, approximately 20 yards, as Hatcher attempted to chip the ball over the on-rushing GK. Unfortunately for the Big Orange, her shot went wide left of frame and over the endline for a goal kick.
Tennessee posted one last chance in the first frame on a last second corner by junior midfielder Julie Edwards. A header from Hatcher drifted wide at 44:55 as both teams retired to the locker room with South Carolina maintaining its 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Vols opened the second half by turning up the heat as two crosses to the middle resulted in a Langworthy header that was barely right at 48:21.
Again the Gamecocks responded to the increased pressure from UT, as their lead grew to 2-0 on a goal by Small at 55:38. Grimsley crossed a pass from the right side into the middle where a header from about six yards out by Small found the back of the twine.
S.C. seemed to control the action for a while, until Imgram took charge near midfield during the 67th minute. The Clifton, Va., native took possession of the ball, beat a couple of defenders to the middle of the pitch and launched a shot from about 20 yards out that forced a Patton save.
At 69:38, Imgram cut into the lead off a free kick as a foul had placed the ball off the left side of the goal at a sharp angle approximately 16 yards out. Her blast beat Patton, cutting the South Carolina lead to 2-1, with the score marking Imgram's league-best 10th tally of the season.
From there the Big Orange offense took control of the match, sending wave after wave of pressure toward S.C.'s end.
Lady Vol freshman Amy Harrison was just a step from running onto a perfect pass right out front of goal in the 72nd minute, and then sophomore midfielder Emily Shore forced a save at 73:26 and Barrett launched a follow-up that was blocked by the Gamecock defense.
South Carolina didn't record a single shot over the last 14:21 of the match as UT pressed hard for the equalizer.
Hatcher managed to force a save by Patton at 83:42, and Imgram did the same at 88:42, but the Lady Vols ran out of time as the Gamecocks eventually prevailed, 2-1.
Tennessee wraps up its season-long five-match homestand on Thursday, Oct. 22nd, at 7 p.m. ET against Auburn. Live stats via Gametracker and free web-streamed video will also be available through utladyvols.com.