KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (school release) -- A goal in the ninth minute set the early tone for Ohio State (11-8-2) on Sat., Nov. 12, in NCAA First Round action at the Regal Soccer Stadium as the Buckeyes eliminated the Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team (15-7-0) from postseason play, 3-0.
The Big Orange senior class consisting of forwards Chelsea Hatcher and Emily Dowd, midfielders Emily Shore and Lara Langworthy and defenders Hannah Hut and Chelsea Kephart concluded their careers at Rocky Top having helped guide the UT program to 43 victories, a pair of NCAA Tournament berths (2008, 2011) and the 2008 Southeastern Conference Tournament title.
Hatcher led the Lady Vol offense versus Ohio State by taking four shots, including two on frame, while Dowd was credited with a pair of shots. Freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel made six stops between the pipes, concluding her initial campaign at UT with 105 saves. The total for the Cordova, Tenn., native rates her behind only former Lady Vol All-American net-minder Jaimel Johnson (111 saves in 2007) in the Tennessee single-season record book for that category.
Dowd (12 goals, 31 points) and sophomore forward Caroline Brown (11 goals, 30 points) completed the campaign as one of the highest-scoring duos in UT single-season annals, becoming the first Lady Vol pair to both reach 10+ goals in the same season since 1998.
“Just credit to Ohio State,” Lady Vol Head Coach Angela Kelly said. “They certainly took advantage of their opportunities on two set pieces, just things we need to tighten up. The first goal in the run of play, we weren’t marked tight enough in the box. That’s obviously something that we train as well.
“This season and the body of work for this team have been tremendous, and I’m really proud of where they’ve come. It has been a joy to coach them. What I told them at the end of the game is there’s only one team that has the ability to finish the season with a smile. Everyone else finishes their season with a loss. That team, as I mentioned, is going to have to play a lot of talent and play some great soccer.
“For this team in a tremendous season, this senior class has definitely put their stamp on this program. It didn’t finish the way we wanted it to, but unless we won the national championship, there would always have been disappointment. I just can’t express to the seniors enough of how proud I am of them and specifically for finishing their careers the way they did and putting their stamp on the program.”
Early on in the contest Tennessee’s offense applied solid pressure to the Buckeyes, having shots by Hatcher and Dowd blocked and earning the first corner of the match for either team at 5:28.
Unfortunately for the Big Orange, OSU registered a tone-setting score by getting on the scoreboard first during the ninth minute. A cross delivered from the right wing into the middle ended up in the possession of forward Tiffany Cameron, and she finished from nine yards out for an early 1-0 lead.
The advantage nearly became two scores for the Bucks beginning at the 14:15 mark as the Scarlet & Gray fired off three consecutive shots. Eckel proved up to the task, however, making a big stop on the goal line, before the next two rebound blasts were blocked by UT defenders.
The Lady Vol offense seemed to settle into the contest during the middle of the opening half as Hatcher forced a pair of stops by Ohio State keeper Katie Baumgardner at 27:53 and 33:38. On the latter of the two shots, Hatcher’s bending shot threatened at the left post, but the net minder managed a diving deflection over the end line for a UT corner.
OSU’s Chelsy Swackhamer forced Eckel into a leaping tipped save over the crossbar at 37:45 as the momentum seemed to swing back the Buckeyes’ way. Cameron dribbled in clear at the left post at 39:10 but watched her effort venture wide left of the upright.
Early on in the second half, Tennessee had the run of play in the offensive end, with the best exchange coming during the 55th minute. A shot by junior midfielder Amy Harrison from 14 yards out in the middle was blocked. Then off a ricochet the sphere ended up out on the left wing in Brown’s possession. The Hershey, Pa., native’s solid effort on frame was saved on a diving stop by Baumgardner.
It proved to be set pieces in the second half that hurt the Big Orange. At 67:08 Ohio State defender Megan Fuller delivered a corner from the right side to the left post. A header by Caitlyn Martin back out front was settled at 15 yards out and then blasted home into the lower left side of the net by midfielder Kristen Neiderhaus for a 2-0 lead.
Just 5:59 later at 73:07 Ohio State played a short corner that was lifted inside the six-yard box. Waiting to knock home her second goal of the match was Cameron, as she granted the Bucks a commanding three-score advantage.
Over the remainder of the contest, OSU continued applying pressure with the Lady Vols able to muster only an 84th minute corner kick and no shots as the Scarlet & Gray picked up the victory to advance on in NCAA action.