Tennessee (10-4-2, 5-3-1) played its fifth consecutive 1-0 game but came out on the losing end of this one to Kentucky (9-5-1, 4-4-1) after winning three straight by the same score against Missouri, South Carolina and Auburn.
Coach Brian Pensky, before he lost his voice midway through a question, noted the anemic offense – just three goals in five games – but he also pointed out that just two balls had found the net against Tennessee in five games, one each by Kentucky on Friday and Arkansas on Sept. 28.
“I think we’ve got to become more dangerous in the attacking end,” Penksy said. “Obviously with a lot of 1-0 games, you’re not scoring too many goals. Right now, we’re not scoring very many goals. We have three goals in our last five games. That’s a problem. The positive side is we’ve given up two goals in our last five games.”
Sophomore goalie Julie Eckel has been outstanding this season, and she entered the game with an 0.476 goals against average which is the 13th best GAA in the country and No. 2 in the SEC. She has now allowed just eight goals in 15 games.
Assistant Coach Joe Mallia pinch hit for Pensky for the rest of the media interview and said offensive execution is part of the reason for the dearth of goals, and those issues are fixable.
The game was 0-0 at halftime and stayed that way until midway through the second half when Kentucky’s Kelli Hubly, on an assist from Arin Gilliland, punched the ball through the lower right side of the net.
Both teams totaled 15 shots with the Wildcats making the most of one of theirs. Tennessee had two good chances in the second half after Hannah Wilkinson scooted along the baseline and fired cross passes into the box, but she couldn’t connect with a teammate, and Kentucky cleared the ball safely away.
A crowd of 1,351 was on hand Friday on a cool evening, and many folks donned the Lady Vol scarves that were giveaways to the first 1,000 fans.
The Lady Vols will host LSU on Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern at Regal Soccer Stadium.
INSIDE TENNESSEE VIDEO COVERAGE
Assistant coach Joe Mallia
Goalkeeper Julie Eckel