NORMAN, Okla. (team release) -- The first two-goal game of sophomore midfielder/forward Caroline Brown’s collegiate career helped guide the Tennessee Lady Vol soccer squad (2-0) to a commanding 3-1 victory over Oklahoma (1-1) on an overcast Sunday afternoon at the OU Soccer Complex in Norman, Okla.
Tennessee out-shot the Sooners by a 12-11 total and registered a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks. Freshman net minder Julie Eckel improved her career record to a perfect 2-0 by making a pair of saves between the pipes.
In addition to Brown’s impressive scores at 59:45 and 65:38, junior midfielder Kylie Bono added a goal via a penalty kick at the 22:25 mark. Senior forward Chelsea Hatcher and freshman forward Iyana Moore tallied their first assists of the season. For the rookie Moore, the helper marked her first career collegiate point while clad in the Orange & White.
“I am very excited about how we’ve started off this 2011 season by getting two wins on the road against two very well organized Big 12 teams,” Lady Vol Head Soccer Coach Angela Kelly said. “This success is definitely something for our team to be excited about. As I mentioned on Friday, these experiences at Kansas and Oklahoma have and will continue to serve the benefit of making us better throughout the season. Our freshmen are learning expeditiously, and this trip served every purpose I was looking for. We still have a long way to go, and as I’ll say a million times this year, this team will not be allowed to become complacent. Now we return home and prepare to get back to work on Tuesday.”
Tennessee registered the first corner of the match just 1:30 into the contest. Senior midfielder Emily Shore took it from the left wing, but the Lady Vols couldn’t managed a shot as the ball was cleared away.
OU quickly counter-attacked off the corner, but the UT defense raced back to easily handle any threat posed by the Sooner offense.
Bono posted the first shot of the match for either team at 4:29 as the Yorba Linda, Calif., native launched a shot from the top of the 18, but it drifted wide right of the post.
Things got a little hairy for the Orange during the ninth minute as a lead pass found Oklahoma’s Zoe Dickson in the clear. Eckel held her ground in a one-on-one situation, however, despite facing a 12-yard shot from the middle of the pitch. The Cordova, Tenn., product dove to her right and utilized her legs to make an incredible stop before scrambling to cover the rebound.
Tennessee’s initial goal-scoring sequence began with a long free kick taken from 40 yards out on the right wing by freshman defender Alison Clarke. Bono leapt and flicked a header from the middle of the 18 wide left of goal. Oklahoma keeper Kelsey Devonshire grabbed the ball and made a throw that ended up traveling right to UT senior forward Emily Dowd. The Gainesville, Fla., native raced in quickly and made a move to beat the net minder as Devonshire tripped Dowd inside the box. The head referee ordered a penalty kick, and Bono stepped up and buried it in the left side of the twine to grant the Big Orange a 1-0 lead at 22:25.
Oklahoma nearly answered back at 24:15 as Caitlin Mooney gets behind the UT backline on a long free kick off right wing, but her volleyed effort drifted high of frame.
A great move by Brown on the right end line saw her beat two OU defenders and draw a foul just outside the 18. On a free kick from right side of box in the 27th minute, Brown crossed to senior defender Hannah Hut who fired from 15 but the ball was blocked out front and cleared.
The Sooners equalized at 30:35 as a through ball between Lady Vol defenders found Sage Coralli with a step on her marker out even with the right post. She moved in one-on-one against Eckel and fired over the UT freshman’s out-stretched hands from about eight yards to dead-lock the count at 1-1.
For the second time in two matches, Tennessee saw a goal wiped off the scoreboard via an offside call. Dowd made a run up the right wing and crossed a pass to the far post in the 35th minute. Waiting to tap the feed in successfully past a diving Devonshire was Lady Vol senior midfielder Lara Langworthy, but she was judged by the linesman to have gotten a head start on her defender.
Dowd forced a diving stop at the left post by Devonshire at 39:55 and OU’s Kelsey Kraft headed a shot wide with 22 seconds remaining as the first half came to a close with the score knotted at 1-1.
During the 50th minute a pass ended up at Brown’s feet out on the right wing. The Hershey, Pa., native cut sharply in towards the right post and decided to fire a quick shot. The lazer was saved by Devonshire, however, and finally cleared away with some difficulty by the Sooner backline.
Tennessee moved back in front on the scoreboard at 59:45 via one of the toughest shots you’ll ever see succeed in the sport of soccer. Off a Big Orange throw-in, Hatcher lifted a ball that landed at Brown’s feet just inside the right boundary of the 18. From a very sharp angle off the side of frame, the Hershey, Pa., native lifted a shot over the keeper that traveled in at the top left corner and nestled in the netting just inside the left post.
The Lady Vols managed an insurance goal at 65:36 to nab a commanding 3-1 advantage over the Sooners. Located about 25 yards out in the middle of the pitch, Moore lifted an ambitious, high-arcing shot towards frame that’s trajectory literally saw the ball come down inches from the crossbar. OU’s keeper Devonshire had no choice but to leap and try to parry it over the bar, but her attempt popped straight up in the air and landed about three yards out near the right post. Brown was waiting right there to tap in her second goal of the match and provide Moore with her first collegiate assist.
Suddenly trailing by a pair of scores, Oklahoma cranked up the offensive pressure as the Sooners were forced to press in an attempt to cut into its deficit. A shot by OU’s Kraft at 75:16 failed to trouble Eckel as she made a routine stop.
That proved the last real chance for the Crimson & Cream down the stretch as shots by Michelle Alexander (88:33) and Katharine Nutman (89:21) went well high and wide of frame, respectively as the Big Orange closed out a huge, early-season triumph.
Next up for the Lady Vol soccer team is the annual First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic on Aug. 26 at the Regal Soccer Stadium, as the Big Orange battle UCLA at 8 p.m. Florida and Texas A&M will precede the UT match at 5:30 p.m. ET.
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