KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (utladyvols.com) -- Tennessee soccer’s shutout streak now stands at four straight matches as the Lady Vols scored early and often in blanking Charlotte, 5-0, in front of 1,445 fans on Fri., Sept. 9, at the Regal Soccer Stadium.
The occurrence marked just the second time in program history that UT has registered four consecutive shutouts (Oct. 28 -Nov. 6, 2007), while the opposition’s current scoreless streak of 365:38 marks the fifth-longest such skein in Big Orange annals.
UT got the team-leading fifth and sixth goals of the season from sophomore forward Caroline Brown, the third goal of the campaign as well as two assists from senior forward Emily Dowd, the first tally of the year by junior midfielder Amy Harrison and the initial goal of freshman midfielder Lexi Krause’s brief career at Rocky Top during the rout. Junior midfielder Kylie Bono (team-leading third assist of 2011), junior forward Alexis Owens (first assist), sophomore midfielder Sanna Saarinen (first assist) and senior forward Chelsea Hatcher (second assist) were each credited with assists.
Lady Vol freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel made three saves while lowering her goals-against-average to 0.57, combining with redshirt sophomore Jessica Rolfs (6:15 of action) on the squad’s fourth straight shutout.
Tennessee managed to get a total of 22 players into the contest. Included was the first collegiate action for freshmen Kaelyn Angelo and Tyler Law (six minutes each).
UT out-shot the 49ers by a 23-10 total, including 12-5 in the first half and 11-5 in the second stanza, and won the corner kick category by a commanding 10-2 count.
“Well we’re just excited,” Lady Vol Head Soccer Coach Angela Kelly said. “I think credit has to be given to Charlotte. They were very dynamic, and I don’t think the result was indicative of the run of play. We finished very well. We had a goal in the first two minutes and then another, I think, three minutes later. I was very pleased with our organization in the attacking box, and we certainly have talked about how we need to add that focus as well as in the defensive third. I’m excited about the shutout, excited about the performance defensively as a team and just looking forward to training tomorrow morning.”
The Lady Vols wasted no time getting the offensive onslaught underway against the 49ers as Brown struck just 1:51 into the match. A perfect ball over the backline found Brown with some space up the right wing. The Hershey, Pa., native made a move to beat her defender to the end line, cut inside and with goalkeeper Alex Kubrick perhaps expecting a cross, finished inside the right post from six yards out to make it 1-0.
The advantage was doubled just 3:27 later as a feed up the left wing by Bono found Dowd. The Gainesville, Fla., product moved in towards the left post and crossed a ball into the 18-yard box. Harrison settled the ball quickly and blasted a shot that beat Kubrick from 14 yards as the lead expanded to 2-0.
Charlotte’s team didn’t manage anything in any statistical category until called for a foul in the 15th minute of the contest.
At 17:27 the 49ers finally managed a threat in the offensive end, but a through ball into the 18 from midfielder Jonna Handra located a teammate well offside as the official’s flag was up.
The Big Orange continued to blast away at Charlotte’s goal as back-to-back shots by Brown and Dowd at 19:52 and 19:56 were blocked and hit the post, respectively.
During the 23rd minute the 49ers finally managed their first shot of the match as an ambitious drive by midfielder Macky Wingo from outside the 18 traveled well wide right.
There were a couple of threatening moments for the Lady Vol defense during the opening frame as a Charlotte corner resulted in a header at the right post from Carrie Dail. Fortunately for the Big Orange, senior midfielder Emily Shore blocked the potential score on a deflection in front of the goal line and cleared the ball out of danger. Off a free kick in the 36th minute, Eckel came through with a big stop on a similar feed to the same right post.
A perfect cross from Owens into the middle located Brown once again at 32:48. She easily beat Kubrick from six yards out to improve Tennessee’s advantage to a commanding 3-0.
Out of the halftime break, neither offense could find its footing early on as play raged in the middle third of the pitch.
Charlotte earned a corner at 53:45 and crossed a dangerous ball into the middle that Eckel leaped above the crowd to punch away from danger. On a follow-up shot from 22 yards out by Handra, UT’s keeper was positioned perfectly to make a routine stop.
The score fest continued for the Lady Vols at 66:20 as Hatcher dribbled up the right wing before curling what appeared to be a shot on goal. Dowd was standing eight yards out of the right post and managed a right-footed touch to re-direct the ball into the twine to make it 4-0.
From there it was left to the Lady Vol defense to preserve the shutout, and see if the lead might grow more. Krause took care of that in the 79th minute as a ball traveled from Dowd to Saarinen before being volleyed in on the fly by the rookie for UT’s fifth tally.
From there Tennessee made numerous substitutions and Charlotte failed to manage a single shot over the final 11:18 as the Big Orange rolled to its sixth victory of 2011.
A season-long, four-match home stand continues next Fri., Sept. 16, as the Lady Vols host Coastal Carolina at the Regal Soccer Stadium in a 7 p.m. ET kick-off
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