No. 15 Lady Vol soccer team beats Miss. State, 2-0

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (school release) -- The team-high-tying 10th goal of the season from senior forward Emily Dowd and the third score of the year by senior forward Chelsea Hatcher proved plenty as the #15 Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team (11-3-0, 4-2-0 Southeastern Conference) turned in a workmanlike effort on Sunday afternoon in front of 1,378 fans at the Regal Soccer Stadium by dispatching Mississippi State (4-7-3, 1-4-1 SEC), 2-0.

Dowd registered her third match-winner of the season and, in the process, also tallied the 20th goal of her career by scoring at 15:05 off the fifth assist of 2011 from junior midfielder Kylie Bono. Hatcher slammed home her third goal of the campaign at 48:52, while Dowd was credited with her sixth helper on the score.

By registering her 10th goal, Dowd joined fellow Lady Vol Caroline Brown (10 goals) as the first Tennessee soccer duo to each cross the double-digit scoring plateau during the same season since Allison Campbell (17 goals) and Laura Lauter (12 goals) completed the feat way back in 1998.

UT rookie goalkeeper Julie Eckel also equaled former Lady Vol Ellen Dean’s (1998-2000, 2002) freshman victory record at Rocky Top by recording her 11th win between the pipes. The Cordova, Tenn., native made five saves in picking up her fifth solo shutout of the year and her second in league action.

Overall, Tennessee out-shot the Bulldogs, 18-10, including 10-5 in shots on goals and managed an 8-0 advantage on corner kicks.

“Anytime you come off an emotional win, Friday took a ton out of our squad emotionally; it’s going to be impossible for all of the individuals to rejuvenate themselves emotionally,” Lady Vol Coach Angela Kelly said. “What you need to do is be able to produce and be effective more in a businesslike fashion, but you still have to produce and work toward the result. Mississippi State is a heck of a team. They were very well organized defensively. They were a threat, had three players up top that were dynamic, so they were a handful. Overall, I’m very pleased with the weekend. I just really enjoy being around this group.”

Neither offense got much accomplished in the early going as Tennessee managed a corner at 2:45 and got its first shot from Hatcher via a drive from 19 yards out at 4:19 that was wide left.

Mississippi State managed a pair of shots during the 13th and 15th minutes. The latter try at 14:18 by midfielder Lauren Morgan from way out in the middle of the pitch didn’t trouble Eckel as the net minder made an easy stop.

The Lady Vols struck pay dirt at 15:05 as Bono did some solid work on the left wing. The Yorba Linda, Calif., product beat her marker and lifted a pass from just inside the 18 that was volleyed into the upper right side of the twine on the fly by the raised boot of Dowd for an early 1-0 lead.

Eckel was forced back into action during the 22nd minute as Morgan again drilled a shot on frame that necessitated a stop from UT’s keeper.

At the 28:04 mark the Bulldogs escaped a two-score hole as Big Orange sophomore forward Caroline Brown managed to beat her defender and advance in towards the left post. The Hershey, Pa., native fired a quick shot that was saved initially by MSU goalkeeper Skylar Rosson. The ball continued past the net minder and would have settled inside the right corner of the twine if not for Bulldog Serena Prendergast being positioned perfectly to clear the ball off the goal line.

That proved the best of the remaining offensive efforts for either team during the opening frame. Brown launched a shot just wide of the left post from 12 yards at 36:54, while Mississippi State sub Dana Forbes blasted a drive well high of frame in the 38th minute.

It didn’t take the Lady Vols long to add a little insurance on the scoreboard in the second half, getting its second goal of the contest at 48:52. Hatcher delivered a ball up the right wing that located Dowd on the move. She crossed the sphere into the middle of the 18 where Hatcher was all by herself about seven yards out. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native had time to settle the ball before beating Rosson for a 2-0 Lady Vol advantage.

The scoreboard almost showed three goals for UT at 52:37 as Dowd fed a perfect through ball, from just outside the 18, up the middle to Bono with a step on her marker. She fired from eight yards, but Rosson managed a big save.

Brown forced another huge stop from MSU’s Rosson in the 58th minute after the UT forward moved inside her defender near the left end line, raced in towards the left post and unleashed a shot from close range. The Bulldog net minder managed to deflect the ball away from frame where it was cleared by the defense.

Perhaps the best chance for Mississippi State to get on the board came at 63:18. A back pass from Forbes to midfielder Amy Hoover, who was located at the top of the 18, resulted in a shot on net that Eckel caught.

Just 2:39 later off a free kick, MSU forward Elisabeth Sullivan teed up a shot that proved close, but her bending drive traveled just wide of the left upright.

UT midfielder Sanna Saarinen pulled off a sweet move near the right end line during the 76th minute, back-heeling a ball between a Bulldog defender’s legs and dribbling into some space on the right side. The Espoo, Finland, product laced a shot that was blocked out front, and a follow-up try by junior midfielder Amy Harrison ventured just a little high of the crossbar.

The Big Orange defense kept MSU from tallying a single shot over the final 24:11 of the match-up in securing the squad’s seventh clean sheet of 2011.

It’s back to the road in SEC action for the #15 Lady Vols as the squad next ventures to Kentucky (Oct. 14 – 7 p.m.) and Vanderbilt (Oct. 16 -- CSS-TV – 1 p.m. CT).

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