Lady Vols soccer (4-1, 0-0 SEC) faced off against Southeastern Louisiana (1-2-1, 0-0 Southland) on Sep. 5 in a defense driven matchup.
The Tennessee defense erased the Southeastern Louisiana offense early, allowing no shots and just two corner kicks in the first half.
On the other side of the field, the Lady Vols were able to apply pressure with 10 shots and four corner kicks.
One of those shots found their mark when Tennessee freshman Mackenzie George scored on a long strike with six minutes left in the first half.
“I kind of lost the ball a few times there and I was about to stop, and then I saw the goal and some space and I just took it and finished,” George said. “It’s the best feeling ever, and to come together with your teammates after is even better.”
The second half was more of the same for the Lady Vols. Their stout defense prevented the Lady Lions from getting a shot off.
The Tennessee defense was helped by an offense that got off 18 total shots while keeping the ball in Southeastern Louisiana territory for much of the second half.
A Michelle Alozie header stretched Tennessee’s lead to two with 12 minutes left in the game.
“I just saw Alicia (Donley) obviously make a really good run, and we’ve been practicing getting to the end line, crossing it and making sure we had numbers in the box,” Alozie said. “I just wanted to make sure my run was there and I knew where the ball was.”
The Lady Vol defense kept the Lady Lions out of range for the remainder of the game, and Tennessee won 2-0.
Though Tennessee scored on only 11% of their shots, the Lady Vols’ shot differential was what led them to victory.
“18 shots is good,” Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky said. “Would we still like more than 18? Probably so, but we’ll take it.”
This game marks the second time this season that Tennessee has prevented an opponent from taking a shot.
“I had no idea when we did the last time it was a first-ever in program history, and now to do it two times in four games is pretty darn special,” Pensky said. “The best defending is sometimes your attacking and your ability to keep the ball.”
This was Tennessee’s first game at home after a two-game road trip that saw Rutgers hand the Lady Vols their first defeat of the season.
“Obviously we love the crowd. It’s good to just be in our atmosphere and just doing the normal routine things that we’re used to, so it was good to be back,” Alozie said.
A week has passed since their first loss of the season, and it seems that the Lady Vols have left the defeat behind them.
“Coming back from a loss with two wins, and I’m hoping a third on Sunday, is awesome and I hope we can just keep this streak going,” George said.
The Lady Vols will be back in Regal Soccer Stadium on Sept. 8 when Tennessee plays Cincinnati. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. EST.
Edited by Ainsley Kelso and Ciera Noe
Featured image by Kelly Gerdin courtesy of Tennessee Athletics