In it’s final game before conference play, Tennessee defeated Virginia Tech 3-1 on Sunday night at Regal Soccer Stadium. It was the first meeting between the two programs since a 1-1 draw in 2015.
Tennessee (8-0) got the offense rolling early when junior Khadija Shaw’s cross connected with Mary Alice Vignola’s head to open up the scoring in the second minute. The sophomore’s first goal of the season set the momentum for the first half as the Vols controlled possession. Tennessee added a second goal right before the half when redshirt sophomore Katie Cousins scored her first goal of the season in the 33rd minuted to give the Vols a 2-0 lead. Cousin capitalized off of a rebound after Shaw hit the crossbar twice.
The momentum shifted in the second half when the Hokies (6-1-1) dominated time-of-possession and moved forward with the ball early. With little involvement in the first half, Tennessee goalkeeper Shae Yanez was called into action with a strong save in the 58th minute. The corner following the save proved to be costly though, as Virginia Tech’s Allyson Brown took advantage of the Vols’ poor set-piece to score her third goal of the season.
The Vols continued to battle despite giving up a goal and having their lead cut to 2-1. Tennessee added a third goal in the 82nd minute when redshirt junior Meghan Flynn shrugged off a defender in the box and proceeded to send the ball past the backtracking Virginia Tech goalie. Flynn’s second goal of the season proved to be the game-winner.
With the win, Tennessee extends its best start in program history since 2012. The Vols hope to carry their momentum into SEC play when they open up against Kentucky on Sunday night at Regal Soccer Stadium. The game is set for 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Featured image by utsports.com