No. 20 Tennessee opened the NCAA tournament with a 2-0 win over Murray State on Saturday night at Regal Soccer Stadium. It was the first meeting between the two schools since the Vols shut out the Racers 3-0 in a regular season game in 2015.
The main story line of the opening half was the apparent head or neck injury to Tennessee’s leading goal scorer Khadija “Bunny” Shaw in the third minute. Shaw was carted off, and was able to give the crowd a reassuring thumbs up as she left the field. Junior Danielle Marcano replaced Shaw to lead the Vols attack up top for the remainder of the match.
Tennessee held most of the possession in the first half but was unable to get the ball in the back of the net. The score remained scoreless heading into the break.
In the second half, Marcano scored in the 60th minute to put the Vols up 1-0. A few minutes later, redshirt sophomore Erin Gilroy scored to extend the Vols’ lead 2-0.
Following the two goals, the Racers committed five fouls and remained physical against Tennessee for the rest of the match. They were unable to get on the scoresheet though, as the score remained 2-0 until the match was over.
Before today’s game, Murray State was fresh off its championship win in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to earn its automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
For Tennessee, junior Mackenzie Gouner made her return after suffering an injury against Vanderbilt on Oct. 19. Gouner started all 15 games on defense prior to her injury and was key to the Vols regular season success.
Tennessee will look to continue their tournament run as they face Washington State in the second round following the Cougars first-round upset of No. 2 seed Central Florida. The Vols will face Washington State on Friday at 2 p.m. ET in Gainesville, FL.
Featured image courtesy of UT Sports
Edited by Seth Raborn