Nov. 4, 2011
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - Despite a dominant second half by #23 Tennessee (15-6) on Fri., Nov. 4, in Orange Beach, Ala., that saw UT out-shoot Auburn (13-6-2) by a commanding 12-2 count while totaling a 9-5 advantage on corners, the Tigers managed a goal late in each stanza to eliminate the Lady Vols from the SEC Tournament, 2-0.
The Big Orange now must wait to learn its postseason path during the NCAA Selection Show to be broadcast on NCAA.com on Mon., Nov. 7, at 4:30 p.m.
Tennessee out-shot the Tigers by a 21-11 count, including 4-3 on shots on frame, while each team managed 11 corner kicks.
UT junior midfielder Amy Harrison (team-high two shots on frame), sophomore forward Caroline Brown, senior forward Chelsea Hatcher and junior midfielder Kylie Bono each led UT's offense with four shots each. Freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel was forced to make one save during the contest.
"We needed to connect passes, and the shots were 21-11," Lady Vol Head Coach Angela Kelly said. "Give credit to Auburn, they put away their chances, and I wish them the best of luck on Sunday. We created enough opportunities, we just have to execute and put the ball in the back of the net. We just have to regroup and rest some bodies and wait for Monday to see where we will be (in NCAAs). I'm really proud of our girls. I'm really pleased with the way we progressed this season, and it's certainly not over"
After a feeling out period over the early going, it was Tennessee senior forward Emily Dowd who registered the initial shot of the contest for either team. Working up the left wing the Gainesville, Fla., native fired from a sharp angle at 6:29, but the drive hit off the side netting.
UT was in control offensively over the early portion of the match as Harrison followed up with a solid chance during the 11th minute via a header from 14 yards out that was saved by Tiger keeper Amy Howard.
Auburn managed its first initial solid foray into UT territory at the 11:39 mark, earning the first corner of the match for either squad. Off the cross into the middle, midfielder Katy Frierson found a ball at her feet just outside the top of the 18, but her effort traveled wide left.
After a pair of Auburn shots by defender Julie King were blocked by UT's defense, another corner for the Tigers at the 16:00 mark proved dangerous for the Big Orange. AU forward Mary Coffed floated a ball into the middle that resulted in another wide shot, this one from midfielder Jessica Rightmer.
Back on the other end, Dowd tried a blast from just outside the top of the 18 at 24:54, missing just high over the crossbar while aiming at upper left corner.
Just 38 seconds later Harrison had a great chance on a shot from about 10 yards out on the left side that Howard managed to save on a diving stop. The rebound bounced right into the possession of UT's Brown near the edge of the six-yard box, but she was ruled offside before her follow-up try,
A terrific through ball up the middle in the 32nd minute located Brown with some space on the left wing. With her Auburn defensive marker closing fast, the Hershey, Pa., native fired quickly in virtually a one-vs. one situation against Howard but had her shot saved via a dive by AU's keeper.
The tables turned soon after in Auburn's favor as a long pass ahead ended up in the possession of substitute Tori Ball. She moved in against Eckel in a one-vs.-one situation and managed to place a shot in the lower right corner at 32:07 to give Auburn a 1-0 lead.
The momentum remained firmly in the Tigers end over the remainder of the opening stanza as King and Rightmer managed shots that were blocked. UT did earn a corner kick at 41:13 that resulted in a wide effort off the foot of Bono, but headed to the locker room trailing by a single score.
Out of the break the Lady Vols immediately exerted offensive pressure that resulted in a pair of corners at 47:34 and 48:22. Unfortunately, drives from both Bono and Hatcher traveled wide of frame for harmless Auburn goal kicks.
During the 54th minute Hatcher was taken down about 24 yards out in almost the same position she scored from during the quarterfinal victory over Kentucky. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native took the free kick, eluding the wall stationed out front, but the shot was deflected by an AU defender inside the six before being cleared.
After Hatcher had a drive blocked from the right side at 69:53, UT had a terrific opportunity thwarted by the Tiger defense during the 72nd minute. Brown began the threat by firing off a shot that was deflected at 71:05. On a follow-up effort freshman Lexi Krause drilled a drive from outside the left edge of the 18 that was blocked. The rebound ended up in Brown's possession moving in towards the left post, but her nine-yard effort hit the outside netting.
With Tennessee pressing hard for an equalizer, it proved to be Auburn that registered an insurance score at 85:16. Consecutive headers from Ball to midfielder Ana Cate ended up at the feet of defender Julie King just eight yards out in the middle of the 18, and she promptly finished the play to make it 2-0, AU.
Over the final minute, the Lady Vols managed a pair of corner kicks, getting a header from junior defender Ali Hall at 89:42 that forced Howard into action to make a save. One final attempt from Harrison was again blocked out front as the Tigers finished off the match to advance on to Sunday's SEC Tournament Final.