Freshman midfielder Amy Harrison
Oct. 30, 2009
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
ATHENS, Ga. - Despite the third goal of the season from freshman forward Jayden Barrett in the 70th minute, the Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team (8-8-3, 4-5-2 Southeastern Conference) dropped a hard-fought, 2-1 decision to No. 22 Georgia (14-4-1, 7-4-0 SEC) on a cool and rainy Friday night at the UGA Soccer Stadium in Athens, Ga.
With UT's loss and tonight's win by Vanderbilt over Kentucky, the Lady Vols dropped to the eighth seed for the upcoming SEC Tournament and will now open the postseason on Wed., Nov. 4th, at 6 p.m. ET versus top-seeded Florida.
Barrett's score brought the Big Orange even on the scoreboard at 1-1 off the fourth assist of the year from freshman midfielder Amy Harrison. The Bulldogs responded just 46 seconds later, however, with a goal by Alex Hooker on the way to their one-tally victory. With less than a minute remaining in the match, a shot from Harrison was touched off the right goalpost by Georgia keeper Michelle Betos as UT narrowly missed posting a late regulation tie.
UGA out-shot Tennessee, 17-16, but the Lady Vols posted a 10-8 advantage during the second stanza. Junior goalkeeper Molly Baird made nine saves in the contest and now has 92 stops on the season.
"Games like this come down to execution and our discipline in the attacking third," Lady Vol head coach Angela Kelly said. "We discussed this with our team after the match. Now we've put ourselves in a position where we have to go down to Orange Beach for the SEC Tournament, put our best foot forward and win some matches."
The Bulldogs posted the first real offensive pressure in the contest during the fourth minute as forward Carrie Patterson found some space on the right wing and beat a UT player near the endline. Her cross to the middle traveled right to midfielder Lindsay Stein, who settled the ball and ripped a shot from about 14 yards out front that traveled just over the top of the goal.
Tennessee came right back in the next minute as a UGA foul near midfield granted senior forward Mick Imgram the chance to lob a long ball into the penalty zone. The Clifton, Va., native's pass into the middle was headed away by the Georgia backline to junior midfielder Julie Edwards on the left wing about 18 yards out. She received defensive contact while attempting a left-footed shot and fanned on her attempt as no foul was called.
After a period of offensive control by the home-standing Red & Black, the Lady Vols forced their first corner of the match at 6:48. Imgram lobbed the ball into a crowd standing in the 18 with an eventual header coming from Harrison near the far post that forced the initial save by Betos.
During the 15th minute, UT drew consecutive corners, managing a headed shot from sophomore midfielder Chelsea Hatcher on the first cross that was blocked out front and wide right over the endline.
At 17:12, the Bulldogs almost broke in front on the scoreboard as a 16 yard shot from the right side by Ashley Miller bent just over the leaping reach of Baird and ricocheted off the center of the crossbar. The rebound traveled to a UGA offensive player on the left wing at about eight yards, but UT's defense managed to keep Georgia from registering a follow-up shot.
On a long ball from the left side to the right wing by Imgram, Barrett won a one-vs.-one battle by pressuring her UGA marker into knocking the ball over the end line. On the eventual corner kick into the 18 at 21:18, rookie defender Ali Hall leapt high into the air and headed a shot just wide of frame that was cleared out of danger by the Bulldogs.
Georgia's Patterson got into some space during the 24th minute, following a slip by a UT defender on a saturated field, and fired a blast from the top of the 18 that bent right to Baird. The junior netminder briefly bobbled the wet, slick sphere before nabbing the ball to record her fourth early save.
After a long period of action in the midfield, Georgia's Pollock got a headed shot off a pass into the middle at 33:51 that ventured wide.
Tennessee responded to UGA's attack with one of its own by drawing a corner kick in the 36th minute and registering a good opportunity on a shot from about 14 yards out on the left side by Hatcher. Unfortunately, with a crowd standing in front of the Cincinnati, Ohio, product, her roller traveled wide of the left post.
Ambitious efforts from well out by Hatcher and sophomore midfielder Emily Shore traveled well wide of the right post at 38:54 and 40:50, respectively.
Eventually the two teams went to the locker room deadlocked at 0-0, with Georgia having out-shot Tennessee by an 8-6 advantage, and Baird having corralled five saves over the opening 45 minutes.
The first scoring chance of the second half came off the right foot of Miller from just inside the top of the 18 at 47:01, but Baird easily made the save.
Tennessee's Imgram managed to find some space about 25 yards out in the middle of the pitch during the 50th minute and quickly ripped a shot on frame that almost got the Lady Vols on the board. The bending ball ventured in above Betos' head, forcing the keeper to leap in an attempt to tap the drive over the crossbar. Iinstead, she popped up ball straight up in the air and had it drop right back into her hands for a scary stop.
An Imgram cross from the right wing during the 54th minute traveled all the way through the middle of the penalty area. Unfortunately for UT the pass was just a little too far in front of sophomore midfielder Lara Langworthy as her sliding shot traveled high over the crossbar.
With the Orange & White forcing almost constant pressure in the attacking third, a UT giveaway in the midfield quickly led to a two-on-one in the 60th minute. Georgia failed to get off a shot, however, as a pass from Miller traveled slowly from right to left, just missing her teammate racing up the middle of the pitch.
The scoreless duel came to a sudden end at 60:58 as UGA nabbed a 1-0 lead. Patterson delivered a through feed ahead to Caroline Simpson, who broke into the 18 alone, forcing Baird to race off her line in an attempt to cut down the angle. An eventual shot on the run by Simpson beat UT's diving keeper to the left from about 14 yards.
Tennessee came right back as the midfielder Harrison delivered a perfect through ball up the middle to Barrett who worked into the clear on a breakaway. With the defense closing in from behind, the Corona, Calif., native unleashed a shot from about 12 that beat Betos for Barrett's third goal of the campaign at 69:45, tying the count at 1-1.
The advantage in the suddenly up-tempo contest didn't last long, however, as Georgia's Hooker scored just 46 seconds later from about 19 yards out on the left wing. Her right-footed drive bent just over a leaping Baird's outstretched hand and into the top of the twine as UGA grabbed back its one-goal lead.
A misguided defensive clear by Georgia in the 78th minute almost came back to bite the Bulldogs as the ball ended up at the feet of Hatcher about 24 yards from frame in the middle of the pitch. She unleashed a blast that raced just wide of the right post as UT continued its search for another equalizer.
Hatcher delivered a perfect through ball to sophomore Emily Dowd during the 82nd minute, but Dowd's touch on the pass went just a little too far in front of her as Georgia managed to take it away. Less than a minute later, Hatcher bombed away from about 18 yards on the right side and just high of the goal.
Off a free kick with about four minutes remaining, Imgram drove a high pass into the middle of the penalty area that Betos managed to punch away in a crowd. Following up on the play by Georgia's keeper, a bad UT touch on the left wing rolled over the end line, resulting in a goal kick with the `Dawgs in possession.
With under a minute left, Tennessee almost drew even as a pass from the right side into the middle traveled right to Harrison. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, native fired, but it was touched by a diving Betos and appeared to bounce off the right post.
Long shots in the last 20 seconds from Imgram and Dowd were blocked by the Georgia defense as the Red & Black held on for a 2-1 win.
Tennessee returns to action in postseason play on Wed., Nov. 4, at the annual SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala. UT's opponent in its first round contest will be top-seeded Florida at 6 p.m. ET.