Aug. 29, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Despite conceding a third-minute goal and trailing 1-0 at the halftime break, the Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team (1-1-0) battled back, behind a commanding second-half effort, to defeat Richmond (1-2-1), 2-1, in front of 556 fans on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon at the Regal Soccer Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
Lady Vol Head Coach Angela Kelly talks about her team's win over Richmond
Sophomore forward Alexis Owens dead-locked the count at 1-1 at the 57:31 mark by scoring her first goal of the season. Freshman midfielder Tori Bailey not only tallied her first collegiate goal (68:23) and registered her initial career match-winner, but the Fenton, Mich., native also picked up her team-high second assist of the campaign on Owens' tying effort.
Senior goalkeeper Molly Baird posted three saves overall to pick up the victory and made an outstanding diving stop to bat the shot up and off the crossbar and nullify a UR breakaway effort with 1:05 remaining in regulation.
UT out-shot the Spiders by a staggering 27-12 count, including a 19-6 advantage during the second 45 minutes and posted a 6-1 advantage on corner kicks.
Thus far through its opening three matches of the 2010 campaign, the Big Orange has demonstrated tremendous offensive balance with its six total goals having been scored by six different players (Bailey, Owens, Chelsea Hatcher, Anna Fisher, Emily Dowd and Caroline Brown).
Richmond wasted little time making its presence felt in the contest, getting on the scoreboard just 2:59 into the match. A cross from the left wing by Kat Russell found the feet of forward Becca Wann, who promptly blasted home her team-best third goal of the season from 10 yards out to make it 1-0.
The Spiders continued to hold the offensive momentum until Bailey unleashed a long drive wide in the 17th minute. That seemed to open the door for the Lady Vols as they upped the pressure from that point on in the contest.
During the 23rd minute UT appeared to have dead-locked the score as junior forward Chelsea Hatcher received a pass between defenders in the middle and beat keeper Melissa Pacheco from about 12 yards out. Unfortunately, for the Lady Vols the linesman had his flag up to signal offside on the play and deny the score.
Three consecutive blocked shots in the 24th minute of play eventually ended on a high header from freshman midfielder Caroline Brown as Tennessee continued to swarm the Spiders' net.
A pass from Bailey to Owens clear of the defense proved just a couple of feet too far out in front with 14:08 left in the frame. Rookie midfielder Sanna Saarinen followed about a minute later by delivering a beautiful cross to a wide-open Owens (13:09 left), but she just missed making contact in front of the open net as the ball traveled over the end line for a goal kick.
Granted another opportunity to score on a cross in the 37th minute, Owens used her body to direct a shot at goal that forced a save by Pacheco.
With approximately 30 seconds left in the stanza, Owens crossed to Bailey but again the ball proved to be just a foot too far out in front as chance after chance continued to go for naught.
Out of the break, Tennessee's offense seemed especially energized, unloading shot after shot at surprise Richmond substitute goalkeeper Andrea Young.
After tallying six shots during the opening 12 minutes of the second half and forcing three Young saves, including one on a point-blank effort by Bailey in the clear, the Orange & White finally tied the match at 57:31. Freshman midfielder Caroline Brown ripped a shot towards the right post that was saved but managed to escape the grasp of the Richmond net minder. Bailey hustled in to corral the orb near the end line and crossed to Owens at the far post. The Carmel, Ind., native promptly buried it in the twine with her right foot from approximately four yards out to tie the score at 1-1.
Following some Richmond offensive pressure that resulted in wide and high shots from Natalie LeClair and LeighAnne Baxter, respectively, the UT shooting gallery continued.
Sophomore midfielder Kylie Bono headed a ball just wide of the right post at 67:50 as it seemed just a matter of time before Tennessee would go in front.
The Lady Vols didn't have to wait long as Bailey raced up the middle and launched a shot from 22 yards out that looked as if it might travel wide left of frame. Everyone, including Bailey and the goalkeeper Young, seemed to let up on the ball thinking it would venture wide, but instead it hit the upright and caromed into the back of the net as the Big Orange erupted in celebration.
UT had several more chances down the stretch to ice the match but had senior forward Anna Fisher launch a ball high of frame at 77:15 and then Saarinen was stopped on a sliding save by Young at 78:23 as the lead remained just 2-1.
With 1:05 left on the regulation clock, Richmond forward Kat Russell got in clear from the left side on the Tennessee goal. She fired a shot to the upper right corner of the net, forcing Baird to dive fully extended in an attempt to make the save. The Raleigh, N.C., product got her fingertips on the ball, pushing it aside just enough that it hit off the crossbar and back into the field of play. She quickly recovered and managed to stop a follow-up shot by Jensen Smith to secure the heart-stopping victory for UT.