Tennessee (8-3-2, 3-2-1) got its lone goal from junior Tori Bailey – her second of the season – on an assist from Hannah Wilkinson – her first of the season –at the 57:55 mark of the second half against No. 11 Missouri (10-2-0, 5-1-0).
The rest of the game mirrored the first half, a physical and defensive battle with few shots – 11 for Missouri, 10 for Tennessee – and a lot of yellow cards. Missouri had just nine yellow cards in 11 games and added four to that total Sunday. Tennessee had eight on the season in 12 games and picked up two more Sunday. Both benches accounted for one each for their respective teams.
“This win says a lot about our kids,” UT head coach Brian Pensky said. “It says a lot about our team’s character and our team’s fight. I don’t want to sound like that cliché, cheesy guy but I tell you what, we were tested. We were tested over the weekend.
“It stunk to have to wait from Friday night and the bad taste we all had in our mouths from Friday night, but our courage, mentality, and our physical fight was tested.”
The game’s only goal began with junior Caroline Brown getting the ball to Wilkinson on the right side of the goalie box. Wilkinson went to the right corner with the ball and then sent a cross to the left side of the box where Bailey got her right foot on the ball and sent it past Missouri goalie McKenzie Sauerwein, who had lunged left with the pass.
“We focus so much on being good at soccer and possessing,” Pensky said. “But college soccer is sometimes a fight. It’s a battle, a scrap, a claw and things like that. I think that as a result sometimes we play as if we are focused on being good at soccer, rather than preparing to battle.
“I think that starts with me, and it’s something we talked about coming into today. I think without a doubt our kids did a great job, and then I’m happy for Tori scoring that great goal.”
Tennessee will be on the road for the next two games – at South Carolina on Oct. 5 and at Auburn on Oct. 7. The Lady Vols will be back at Regal Soccer Stadium on Oct. 12 to host Kentucky and then LSU on Oct. 14.
INSIDE TENNESSEE VIDEO COVERAGE
Coach Brian Pensky
GAME HIGHLIGHTS FROM UTSPORTSTV