KNOXVILLE – No. 23 Tennessee was held scoreless for over 81 minutes, but a pair of late goals enabled it to knock off Middle Tennessee, 2-0, Friday evening at Regal Soccer Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Blue Raiders controlled much of the opening 45 minutes of play, holding a 12-9 shot advantage at the half. Middle Tennessee (1-3) took the first six attempts of the match, forcing Lady Vol goalkeeper Julie Eckel to make a pair of saves and keep the visitors off the board through the opening 18 minutes.
Tennessee (4-1) did not manage a shot until 18:46 when senior netminderRebecca Cushing turned away Amy Harrison’s attempt. The Blue Raiders closed the period strong offensively, registering two shots, both by sophomore Jessika Oseguera, and three corner kicks, including a pair in the final 15 seconds, before the teams entered the halftime break scoreless.
The Lady Vols came out of the intermission with a much more aggressive offensive attack, placing six shots towards the MT cage, however, Cushing was able to save one-half of them to keep the teams deadlocked. Ali Hall’s shot at 54:36 hit the crossbar.
Another solid opportunity presented itself for Tennessee at 70:16 when leading scorer Caroline Brown lined up for a penalty kick. However, Cushing stood between Brown and the back of the net, and again, turned the ball away as Brown dropped to 2-of-3 on the season on penalty kick attempts.
Emily Dowd then netted both Lady Vol scores for the final difference. Her first goal came at 81:24 when Brown sent a cross from the left to the right post for Dowd to tap it in from two yards away.
It did not take long for Dowd to find the back of the net yet again. Brown connected on a pass to her in similar fashion before Dowd finished from 11 yards out at 82:41 for the final margin.
The Blue Raiders were led by junior Paige Goeglein’s five shots, five of which were on goal. Oseguera finished with four attempts, two on goal, while senior Shan Jones and redshirt junior Regina Thomas each had two shots. Cushing posted six saves in between the pipes.
Kylie Bono paced Tennessee with five shots, one more than Dowd’s three. Eckel was credited with eight saves in the shutout.
Middle Tennessee will return to action when it plays host to UT-Martin at 2 p.m. Sunday at Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium.