Oct. 26, 2008
AUBURN, Ala. - After a hard-fought 105 minutes of play, the University of Tennessee women's soccer team fell to Auburn, 2-1, in double overtime on Sunday afternoon. The Lady Vols, who trailed deep into the second half before scoring the equalizer in the 84th minute, fall to 8-9-1 overall and 5-4-1 in conference play.
The golden goal for the Tigers came at the 105:34 mark on a counter attack. Freshman midfielder Katy Frierson and her junior counterpart Gabi Rivera took advantage of a two-on-two situation deep in the Tennessee end, as Frierson played a ball to Rivera 12 yards out where she went one-on-one with senior keeper Jaimel Johnson to score the game winner.
Auburn struck first in the 25th minute. Senior defender Jenn Johnson fed a ball from the corner to Frierson who dished to junior forward Rebecca Howell. The Satellite Beach, Fla., native one-timed the cross into the box from six yards, finding the back of the net to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers looked to score immediately, taking four shots in the initial five minutes of the match. Auburn's best early chance came when Frierson took a shot in the second minute that clanged off the post and out to Jenni Prescott who blasted the second chance high.
The Lady Vols answered however as freshman midfielder Chelsea Hatcher ripped a shot that was knocked out of bounds to earn a corner kick in the seventh minute. Sophomore forward Devon Swaim's strike found the head of senior forward Sarah Van Sickle whose shot forced AU keeper Allison Whitworth to make a diving save to her right.
Swaim and freshman forward Emily Dowd nearly hooked up for a score in the 17th minute after Hatcher fed a near perfect ball to Dowd on the right flank. The Gainesville, Fla., native then took the ball to the endline and dished it into Swaim whose one-timer required another save from Whitworth.
The Tigers countered with a breakaway three minutes later that saw senior forward Kara Kasten go one-on-one with Johnson. The Dayton, Ohio, native came out to cut the angle and made a diving save from close range before covering up the ball to keep the Tigers out of the net.
Both teams notched 10 shots in the first half, trading chances throughout. Auburn senior keeper Allison Whitworth needed five saves, plus another from one of her defenders to keep Tennessee scoreless in the first half as it put six of its chances on frame. Meanwhile, Johnson stopped three of the Tigers' four shots on frame in the first 45 minutes.
Auburn came out of the half looking for another goal. AU had a chance to take a two-goal lead in the 55th minute after finding the back of the net. The apparent goal was called back, however, as an Auburn foul in the box shook up Johnson. AU kept the pressure on, though, forcing Johnson to make another save on a miscue on a free kick a minute later.
Senior forward Kylee Rossi, playing with an injury, entered the match in the 75th minute and scored the equalizer just nine minutes later. After a push in the back by Auburn 40 yards from its own goal, junior midfielder Mick Imgram took the free kick, hitting the crossbar. The rebound came out to Rossi who put it away on the volley to even things up at a goal apiece.
The goal was Rossi's 13th of the season and marked the team-leading fourth assist for Imgram, who saw her first action since suffering a concussion on Oct. 17.
Following the early onslaught by Auburn, Tennessee took control of possession, putting four of its 10 second half shots on goal, while holding the Tigers to just three more strikes in the half. Swaim nearly gave UT the game winner in the 89th minute, as Whitworth came out to stop a cross and Swaim had a shot at the open net but sent her strike wide. The save kept the game knotted at 1-1 and sent the Orange and White to its second consecutive overtime match.
Four minutes into the first overtime period, Rossi and Imgram hooked up again with Rossi making a run up the right flank. Imgram fed the ball into the box for Rossi whose shot to the near post was stopped by a diving Whitworth.
Despite taking four shots in the first frame of extra time, UT could not find the back of the net. The Lady Vols held Auburn to just one shot in the final frame, coming on a header from freshman forward Lydia Townsend in the final minute.
The Orange and White out-shot the Tigers 25-17 in the match, forcing Whitworth to make 10 saves. Tennessee controlled the match throughout the final 40 minutes leading up to the Auburn goal - notching 12 shots to the Tigers' four during that span - but could not find the back of the net.
The loss marks the Lady Vols' first in overtime since falling in Auburn in similar fashion in 2006 and brings the program record in extra time to 26-12-17. Following wins today by Georgia and South Carolina, UT now sits in position to take the No. 6 seed in the SEC Tournament with one match remaining.
Tennessee will close out the regular season against Georgia on Friday, Oct. 31 at Regal Soccer Stadium. The Lady Vols will honor their five seniors in their final regular season game at home. Kickoff with the Bulldogs is scheduled for 7 p.m.