May 25, 2024

Tennessee shut out by South Carolina on senior night

Tennessee soccer played No. 2 South Carolina much tougher Thursday night than they did last season. However, the Vols were still unable to top the Gamecocks, as they lost 2-0 on senior night.

KNOXVILLE,TN - OCTOBER 23, 2016 - The University of Tennessee Volunteers Soccer seniors during the match between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Tennessee Volunteers at Regal Soccer Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics

The last time Tennessee soccer faced South Carolina, the Gamecocks put the game away early. They scored two goals off corners in an eight-minute span and led 3-0 after the first 15 minutes. After outshooting the Vols 21-5, they eventually won with ease, 4-0.

But one year later, the game’s tone was much different.

On senior night, Tennessee was still unable to top South Carolina, but played much more competitively in its 2-0 loss. With the loss, the orange and white’s five-game unbeaten streak came to an end.

In the first half, the Gamecocks dominated possession and attempted six shots. However, the Vols were able to muster four total shots and held the edge in shots on goal, 3-2.

The first shot came from senior Anna McClung in the sixth minute. Hannah Wilkinson led Tennessee in the first half with two headers, but failed to capitalize on either.

Going into halftime, both teams combined for nine penalties and zero goals.

In the second half, South Carolina proved why it was the No. 2 team in the country, as they again dominated possession and pressured the Volunteer defense all night. Eventually, their pressure resulted in goals, with the first coming off a corner in the 47th minute by Savannah McCaskill.

Tennessee nearly responded 11 minutes later, as the Gamecock goalie was left scrambling, but the Vols’ shot attempt missed wide. In the 63rd minute, South Carolina struck again with McCaskill’s second goal of the match. Later in the game, Tennessee goalie Jamie Simmons made a diving save to prevent McCaskill from recording a hat trick.

Though the Vols lost, Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky was pleased with the progress this team had made since last year.

“We came into this game far more healthy than we did a year ago,” Pensky said. “We were more together as a group in terms of our depth, health and fight. And certainly if you asked South Carolina if they had a game on their hands today, I think they’d say yes.”

Senior goalie Simmons also mentioned how the mindset going into this year’s game against the Gamecocks differed greatly from last season’s matchup.

“We were coming into this game on a winning streak and we knew we had talent and knew we were good,” Simmons said. “We all wanted to give everything we had for senior night and we did all we could, but sometimes it just doesn’t pan out for us.”

The Vols final game of the regular season before the SEC Tournament will be on the road against the Auburn Tigers this Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

Edited by David Bradford

Featured image by Craig Bisacre, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

+ posts