Tennessee soccer head coach Brian Pensky said Sunday afternoon’s 2-0 victory against UT Martin proved to be “a tale of two halves.”
In the first half, the Vols came out slowly, even “lethargic,” Pensky said.
Through the first 45 minutes, Tennessee posted just three shots.
Granted, one of those initial shots yielded the first goal of the season for Danielle Marcano off a header by Anna Bialczak.
However, according to both Pensky and Marcano, three shots will not cut it, regardless if one nets a goal or not.
“The first half today, my signature’s on that first half,” Pensky said. “That’s on me, that’s not okay, and that’s not good enough.”
Marcano echoed her coach’s comments.
“He got on to us,” Marcano said. “Three shots isn’t good enough, and we knew that. So we came out firing in the second half.”
“Firing” is an understatement, as Tennessee flipped a dramatic switch to put up 19 shots in the final period.
Marcano netted her second goal of the season 17 minutes into the second half, and she credited both goals to her teammates.
“It was a team effort,” she said. “Katie [Cousins] made a great corner kick, and I was just there at the right time.”
“She can change a game in a second,” Pensky said of Marcano. “She hadn’t scored yet [in the] first five games, and I know that was eating at her a little bit… we know that in any moment, she can score a goal.”
Despite the improvements on offense after halftime, the Vols’ defense still struggled, forcing goalie Shae Yanez to make a couple of plays.
Last week, Yanez was able to sit back and control her defense against Wright State. Tennessee responded well by holding the Raiders at bay.
UT Martin was a different story.
The Skyhawks put up five shots to Tennessee’s three through the first half, and they took aim four times in the second period.
One shot almost wrecked Yanez’s third solo shutout of the season, but UT Martin was called for offsides.
“UT Martin… they’ve got a couple kids that were kind of dangerous,” Pensky said. “We gave up shots when we became casual, and we weren’t sharp in terms of how we wanted to defend as a team. Shae [Yanez] did have to make a couple plays, but that’s on our team.”
Tennessee will have to step up its defensive efforts in the coming days, as the Vols travel to East Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech before returning home to begin their SEC slate against No. 3 South Carolina. The Vols’ matchup against the Gamecocks is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET on September 9 at Regal Soccer Stadium.
Featured Photo by Jake Nichols
Edited by Ainsley Kelso and Robert Hughes
Sports editor Jake Nichols has been part of the TNJN staff in two different capacities. His freshman and sophomore years, Jake worked as a staff writer before moving on to write for Rocky Top Insider, and he also worked with VFL Films and the SEC Network for a semester his junior year. When asked the summer before his senior year to return to TNJN as the sports editor, Jake jumped at the chance to end his time in Knoxville working with the organization he first began with as a freshman. Jake is excited to help lead younger writers, much like former editors Cody McClure and Jordan Dajani aided him. Jake also does freelance sports coverage and photography for The Mountain Press in Sevierville, Tenn., and in his spare time, he can be found with family, his girlfriend or driving his Jeep, most likely with his Canon in tow. Be sure and follow Jake on Twitter and Instagram at @jnichols_2121, and keep up with TNJN Sports on Twitter as well!