Vols Shut Out Ole Miss to Advance in SEC Tournament
No. 7 seed Tennessee
scored less than a minute into the game and never looked back in a 2-0
victory over No. 10 seed Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC
Tournament on Monday afternoon in Orange Beach, Ala.
Volunteers scored their quickest goal of the season to go up 1-0 just
45 seconds into the game. Mackenzie Gouner sprung Hannah Wilkinson free
in the box with a good ball over the top of the defense and the New
Zealand native calmly chipped Ole Miss goalkeeper Marnie Merritt for
her 11th goal of the season.
quick start didn't deflate the Rebels, however, as they generated a
handful of quality chances throughout the game. Ole Miss outshot
Tennessee, 9-4, in the opening 45 minutes but had just three shots on
target. UT had the upper hand in corner kicks with four compared to
just two for the Rebels and went to the break leading 1-0.
Miss continued to press early in the second half and nearly pulled
level on multiple occasions. A great defensive play by Rylie O'Keefe
denied a sure goal for the Rebels in the 55th minute. The second-team
All-SEC selection made a perfect slide tackle to dispossess Ole Miss
forward Gabby Little in front of a wide-open net in the 55th minute.
Wilkinson had a couple of half chances for Tennessee minutes later, but
sent one over the crossbar and another wide.
The Vols survived
another close call in the 68th minute when Shae Yanez made an
incredible save from point-blank range on CeCe Kizer before the rebound
attempt hit off the bottom of the crossbar. Yanez was stellar on the
night, making six saves to record her third solo shutout of the season.
weathering the storm by Ole Miss, Carlyn Baldwin put the game on ice
for the Volunteers by converting a penalty kick in the 82nd minute.
Ariel Kupritz drew the call after being taken down in the box on a
breakaway by the Rebels' goalkeeper, who was shown a red card on the
play. Baldwin calmly slotted the penalty kick home to the lower left
corner to give Tennessee a 2-0 lead.
Miss finished with a 19-13 shot advantage but only had a 6-5 edge in
shots on goal. Gretchen Harknett led all players with five shots for
the afternoon. The victory helped Tennessee improve to 15-12-5 all-time
in SEC Tournament games and 2-1-2 under Brian Pensky. The Vols almost
remained unbeaten this season when leading at halftime, improving to
the win, the Big Orange advance to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals for
a rematch with No. 2 seed Auburn. The Vols will try to avenge a 3-1
loss to the Tigers last Thursday in their regular-season finale. UT and
Auburn will square off on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.