Lady Vol soccer improves to 5-1

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Goals from junior midfielder Kylie Bono and junior forward Alexis Owens proved plenty Sunday at the UNCG Soccer Stadium, as Tennessee soccer improved to 5-1 overall with a commanding 2-0 victory over the Spartans.

The Big Orange have now posted three consecutive shutouts and have kept the opposition scoreless for a streak of 275:38 since the 82nd minute of its match against #15/8 UCLA on Aug. 26.

At 5-1 to start the year, the Lady Vols have also equaled the 2002 & 2003 UT squads for the best six-match start in program history.

Tennessee out-shot the UNC Greensboro Spartans by a commanding 16-5 total, including 8-2 in the opening frame and 8-3 over the second stanza.

Coach Angela Kelly with

For Bono the first half goal and her assist on Owens' score marked the second of the campaign for the Yorba Linda, Calif., native in each category. Owens' goal was her initial tally of 2011 and just the second of her career in the Orange & White.

Freshman forward Iyana Moore was credited with the second assist of her brief career on Bono's goal. Senior forward Chelsea Hatcher, junior midfielder Amy Harrison, sophomore forward Caroline Brown and Bono each led the Lady Vol offensive change with three shots each.

Freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel posted five saves between the pipes in improving to 5-1-0 overall with three straight solo blankings.

Both teams fought over the valuable midfield territory early on with neither offense posting a really solid scoring opportunity over the first five minutes.

Hatcher registered the first shot of the contest for either squad at 5:10 as a long through ball up the right wing found the Cincinnati, Ohio, native with a small step on her defensive marker. She fired from about 13 yards out and beat UNCG keeper Kelsey Kearney, but the shot rolled just wide left of the post.

UT rookie defender Allie Sirna made a solid defensive play during the 10th minute as a Spartan long ball found a forward with a step on the Lady Vol backline. The Solon, Ohio, product quickly recovered and battled to win possession eventually allowing no UNCG shot attempt.

The Big Orange earned the first corner of the contest during the 13th minute but senior midfielder Emily Shore's cross from the right side just into the 18 was cleared away.

In her first career start at Rocky Top, sophomore Caroline Capocaccia successfully lifted a ball from the left wing over the UNCG backline to Amy Harrison at 19:05. She finished it in the lower left corner of the net but was called offside by the sideline official.

Just 1:13 later, Brown made a sweet move to beat a UNCG defender, advanced into the 18-yard box and launched a quick shot. Spartan goalkeeper Kelsey Kearney made the save, but the rebound bounced directly out in front of her. The net minder recovered, however, to corral the ricochet before any follow-up shot by the Lady Vols.

UNC Greensboro managed its first shot of the contest at 21:23 as midfielder Ashley Stokes forced Eckel into action with a routine stop.

With the Big Orange offense controlling the majority of possession, senior forward Emily Dowd made a run into the right side of the 18 during the 29th minute. As the keeper Kearney raced off her line in an attempt to thwart a scoring chance, Dowd beat her with a right-to-left move as the GK brought her down inside the box.

The head official pointed to the spot, giving Tennessee its fifth penalty kick in six matches and marking the third PK drawn by Dowd's efforts in 2011.

Unfortunately for the Big Orange, the penalty try by Bono was stopped by Kearney and cleared away to maintain the 0-0 dead-lock.

From just inside the right end line in the 39th minute, Owens delivered a dangerous cross into the middle, but no Lady Vol could get on the end of it. The ball bounced around inside the back of the 18 allowing Bono a chance for a left-footed blast at 39:05 from 14 yards that was blocked by the UNCG defense.

With 3:06 left in the half the Spartans earned a corner, but got no shot off the cross as a Lady Vol skied to clear the ball away. Just seconds later following a Tennessee foul just outside the left side of the 18, UNCG forward Kristin Player bent a shot in on frame, but Eckel stopped it.

After literally dominating possession throughout the opening stanza, Tennessee finally got on the scoreboard at 43:20. A quick shot by Moore from out front was blocked by the UNCG defense.

The ball caromed right to the feet of Bono who pivoted and fired a drive from approximately 15 yards out in the middle that hit off the inside of the right post before traveling all the way across the mouth of the goal and into the lower left corner to make it 1-0.

Right off the second half kick-off UNCG's Player launched a shot from the right side that was easily corralled by Eckel between the pipes.

UT's shooting gallery continued through the early part of the second stanza as Hatcher missed wide at 47:17 and 51:00 and junior defender Ali Hall headed a cross right to Kearney at 50:01.

During the 63rd minute, UNCG managed some of its only real pressure of the second stanza by earning a corner and getting a long shot from outside the 18 by forward Shea Glaspey that was routinely stopped by a perfectly positioned Eckel.

It seemed just a matter of time before Tennessee found a second goal, and it was delivered at 82:22. Bono played a through ball up the middle of the pitch that located Owens with a step on her marker. She took a quick dribble and beat the keeper to the right side from approximately 14 yards out for her first goal of the season and a 2-0 advantage.

UNCG's Lauren Hein forced Eckel into a stop during the 84th minute, but that was it as the Big Orange did a great job of using up the remainder of regulation to finish up the victory.

Tennessee now returns to Knoxville to begin hosting a season-long four-match home stand, beginning on Friday, Sept. 9, with a 7 p.m. match against Charlotte at the Regal Soccer Stadium.

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