FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (school release) -- In front of 743 fans on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Razorback Field in Fayetteville, Ark., the #10 Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team (9-3-0, 2-2-0 Southeastern Conference) bounced back from a disappointing Friday night defeat in a major way by routing the Arkansas Razorbacks (4-7-0, 2-2-0 SEC), 4-0.
Senior forward Emily Dowd led the UT offense, recording her fifth-career multiple-goal effort by tallying her seventh and eighth goals of 2011 while dishing an assist for five total points. Sophomore forward Caroline Brown registered her team-leading ninth goal of the campaign at 69:22 to finalize the Big Orange scoring. UT also got a Razorback own goal at 53:54 as UA defender Courtney Williams chipped a cross into her own net on a failed clearing attempt. Sophomore midfielder Sanna Saarinen tallied her second assist of the year on Dowd’s opening score.
The Lady Vols out-shot the Razorbacks by an 18-17 count, including 12-9 in shots on frame, while each squad posted seven corner kicks in the match.
UT freshman net minder Julie Eckel made a career high nine saves in recording her fourth career solo and first SEC shutout.
“I’m pleased with the result today,” Lady Vol Head Coach Angela Kelly said. “I thought we showed a strong commitment to every facet of the game. That’s something we need to do every single day going forward. I thought we were very explosive and created lots of quality scoring opportunities. Give some credit to Emily Dowd for scoring two goals today and for having totaled eight goals over our last eight matches.”
Tennessee’s offense wasted no time getting on the board in the match as Saarinen located Brown on the right side near the end line. The Hershey, Pa., native delivered a pass into the middle that Dowd finished from approx. seven yards out for a quick 1-0 lead at 6:44. The occurrence marked the fourth time this season that the Lady Vols had scored on their initial shot of the contest.
Before the UT fans in attendance had even stopped celebrating the first UT score, Dowd delivered again just 1:05 later. The Gainesville, Fla., product broke a tackle and made a quick left-to-right move to beat Arkansas keeper Emily Lillard before an easy finish from six yards out for a 2-0 advantage.
The Big Orange continued to threaten over the next few minutes as shots from Hatcher and Bono forced stops at 8:37 and 9:46, respectively.
During the 16th minute Arkansas had a golden scoring chance as a ball chipped in near the top of the six-yard box went right through the hands of charging Lady Vol keeper Julie Eckel. The ball ricocheted around in the crowd out front before finally landing at the feet of Razorback Kailey Anders about 12 yards out in the middle. The forward fired but the blast was blocked out front and ended up over near the left post. A follow-up drive from Anders looked as if it had found purchase in the back of the net, but in fact had hit the outside netting for a harmless goal kick.
Dowd came extremely close to registering a natural hat trick (three straight goals by the same player) at 16:29. Brown crossed a ball from the right wing into the middle that Dowd launched from 14 yards out, but a terrific diving save by Lillard at the right post prevented the goal.
UT needed its own diving save from Eckel to keep the ‘Backs off the board at 21:06. Chandler hammered a shot from 15 yards out on the left wing, but UT’s net minder managed a fingertip save up and over the crossbar for a corner.
At 24:44 a long pass up the left wing found junior forward Alexis Owens with a little space. The Carmel, Ind., native attempted to make a quick move around the charging keeper but Lillard managed to smother the UT player’s shot.
A quick counter-attack in the 42nd minute almost paid dividends for the Razorbacks, but a 12-yard shot by Chandler drifted just wide left of the upright.
Chandler was at it again just 1:43 late launching a shot from the left wing that was deflected by a diving Eckel over the end line for UA’s fourth corner of the opening frame.
Out of the halftime break during the opening minute, Arkansas had a great opportunity in UT territory via a free kick from 25 yards out on the right wing. The original attempt by Chandler was blocked out front, while a follow-up shot by midfielder Tyler Allen traveled right into the waiting arms of Eckel for her fourth save of the match.
The Big Orange got a little assistance at 53:54 to move in front 3-0 as Hatcher crossed a ball into the middle of the six-yard box. Back defending on the play, Arkansas’ Courtney Williams ended up in front of her keeper and kicked the ball into her own net while attempting to chip the ball up and over the cross bar.
With 23:15 left Dowd came oh so close to totaling the hat trick, receiving a long ball up the middle from Hatcher, moving to her right and firing just wide left of the post.
A perfect through ball from the middle of the pitch up the right wing resulted in UT’s fourth tally of the match at 69:17. Dowd delivered the feed between Arkansas defenders right to Brown who quickly deposited the shot to the left of Lillard for a 4-0 Tennessee advantage.
Arkansas had a couple of chances down the stretch to get on the board as midfielder Beth Stratton headed a ball that Eckel routinely stopped at the 78:00 mark. The Razorback midfielder was at it again with approximately seven minutes left by firing a ball from the top of the 18 that was also saved by Eckel.
The lead nearly became 5-0 at 82:55 as a shot by Owens from about six yards out was blocked by a UA defender. The carom bounced out into the middle of the 18 where Saarinen blasted away. The Espoo, Finland, native’s shot was deflected just enough on a diving stop by Lillard to hit off the outside of the left post.
Chandler had one final chance for the Razorbacks at 88:08 but Eckel was up to the task, making her ninth stop to preserve her fourth solo and first career SEC shutout.
The #10 Tennessee Lady Vol soccer squad returns to action next weekend at Regal Soccer Stadium by hosting Ole Miss (Oct. 7 – 7 p.m. ET) and Mississippi State (Oct. 9 – 2 p.m. ET).
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