Coming off back to back tough road losses, one against Vanderbilt (8-2) and the other against Auburn (5-3-2), the Lady Vols soccer team was unsuccessful in their attempt to take down Alabama at home.
Alabama (6-4-1) came into the game looking dominant straight from the start. However, the Lady Vols were able to stop the Crimson Tide from scoring despite seven shots from Alabama.
Lindsey Romig was phenomenal with eight total saves in the first half that helped keep Tennessee in the game.
Alabama finished the first half with seven shots while the Lady Vols were only able to get off five of their own. Around the 16 minute mark, Tennessee received a devastating blow as midfielder Sonia Ouchene Salón went down with an injury.
She was able to stay in the game for only a short while before re-irritating her leg. She was substituted out for Tara Katz.
Ouchene Salón’s injury would be the first of many injuries that occurred during the game. Wrenne French, Michelle Alozie and Mary Alice Vignola were injured later on as well.
After the match, Tennessee coach Brian Pensky described some of the injuries as “possible season-ending injuries” and said that most of the “kids that were hurt today will get some X-rays and MRIs” and will hopefully be healthy for the rest of the season to come.
At the 71st minute mark, Alabama’s Serena Pham scored the first goal of the game on a penalty kick due to a foul on Hadley Cytron.
However, the Lady Vols made a surge in the second half after seeing some of their teammates go down. Their offense seemed much more alive and focused, and as a result, Alicia Donley scored on a rebound two minutes after the penalty kick.
Unfortunately, the leading scorer for the Lady Vols would not see to the end of the game as she was forced out of the game by an injury as well.
Alabama had their chances to end the match before and during the first overtime, but the Lady Vols proved they wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Alabama’s Nealy Martin scored the golden goal that won the game, and Tennessee dropped its third straight match.
The Lady Vols finished with a stat line of only 11 shots, 5 corners and 13 fouls. Alabama had 29 shots, 6 corners and 16 fouls.
Pensky called the loss “a brutal one for everyone on the team,” but he said there were many positives to hang his hat on afterward.
He called Romig’s performance “lights-out,” and was happy to see midfielder Katie Cousins on the pitch after missing the teams’ last two games due to a knee injury.
Pensky said it was “encouraging” to see Cousins playing, and he said he hopes that she is able to keep up the pace for the team as she comes back from injury.
“This group hasn’t experienced a whole lot of losing in the last couple years,” Pensky said, “So, this is a first for a chunk of them … but this is a unique group … and there’s no doubt that they’ll come together as a group … and have a great performance as a group against Kentucky.”
The Lady Vols will be back in action as they look to break a three-game losing streak against Kentucky on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. EDT.
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Vols soccer Twitter (@Vol_Soccer)
Edited by Ciera Noe and Christian Knox