BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (release) – The Tennessee soccer team played a physical match for 90 minutes on Sunday, but Samford's goal in the 10th minute was enough to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 win over the Volunteers at Samford Track and Soccer Stadium.
Tennessee (1-1-0) played with better intensity in the second half, but an early surge by Samford (1-1-0) and Malcanisha Kelley's score in the 10th minute proved to be the difference.
Junior Hannah Wilkinson led the UT attack with six shots, including three on goal. Senior Caroline Brown had four shots and two shots on goal.
Eckel (1-1-0) took the loss for Tennessee after allowing one goal and making one save.
Kelley proved to be Samford's most dangerous offensive player, recording four shots.
Samford pulled ahead early in the first half. In the 10th minute, Kelley sprinted into the box and broke past the UT back line to slide in a goal from a few yards out. Jordan Johnson had the assist on the play. Throughout the rest of the first half, Samford had shots ricochet off the posts and maintained strong offensive pressure until the break.
Tennessee had several crosses into the box in the first half but could not capitalize. In the eighth minute, Wilkinson fired a shot inside that was deflected past the right post. Wilkinson had a breakaway on the far side in the 13th minute and fired a strong shot on goal. Samford keeper Katie Peters made a great diving save to her left to prevent the score.
Wilkinson stayed aggressive in the box, firing wide left from the top corner of the box in the 28th minute.
In the final 10 minutes of the first half, Amy Neal had some nice crosses inside the box. In the 36th minute, she arced a nice ball in to the top center of the box, but Katie Lenz swung and missed on an attempt for a rocket shot aiming for dead center.
In the 38th minute, Neal played another nice ball inside the box for Brown, who shook a defender and had a shot go wide left on the ground. Brown had another shot go wide right with under six minutes left in the half.
Samford took its 1-0 lead into halftime. Tennessee had a 7-6 edge on shots and a 7-1 advantage on corner kicks at the half.
Tennessee next heads to Orlando, Fla., to face UCF on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. ET. The Orange and White returns to Regal Stadium on Sept. 1 to host James Madison at 1 p.m. ET.