Lady Vols soccer off to best start ever

With a commanding 4-0 victory over Coastal Carolina on Friday in front of 1,017 fans at the Regal Soccer Stadium, the Tennessee soccer team made program history.

At 7-1 overall the Lady Vols are now off to the best start in school annals, while the blanking of the Chanticleers marked UT's record fifth-consecutive shutout.

The Big Orange have now held the opposition scoreless over a stretch of 455:38, the second longest such skein in school history, just 1:57 from equaling the program's longest shutout streak of 457:35 that occurred from Sept. 7-21, 2007.

Tennessee outshot Coastal Carolina by a staggering 27-4 total, including 14-2 in the first half and 13-2 over the second stanza, and tallied a 12-1 advantage on corner kicks.

Sophomore forward Caroline Brown continued her incredible clutch efforts by registering her team-leading seventh goal of the season and NCAA Division I best fifth match-winning score just 4:04 into the contest.

Senior forward Emily Dowd registered her second two-goal effort of the campaign by tickling the twine at 18:46 and 54:22 to give the Gainesville, Fla., native five tallies for the year while also adding an assist for five total points.

Junior midfielder Kylie Bono picked up her third goal of 2011 at 12:08 off helpers from Brown and Dowd. Senior forward Chelsea Hatcher and junior midfielder Amy Harrison were credited with their third and first assists of the season, respectively.

Between the pipes, freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel worked the first 81:04 of match time and wasn't forced to make a single save in participating in her fifth consecutive shutout. Redshirt sophomore RB Wyatt finished off the blanking by working the final 8:56 of the contest in her first action of the season.

Just as occurred during the match against Charlotte last Friday night, Tennessee managed to score on its initial shot against Coastal Carolina. Brown beat a Chanticleer defender into the right side of the 18-yard box, raced in towards the right post and uncorked a drive from approximately seven yards out that beat CCU keeper Megan Spencer to grant UT a quick 1-0 advantage.

After Lady Vol sophomore defender Tori Bailey forced a save on a shot in the 10th minute and Hatcher launched a blast wide of frame, the Big Orange managed to double its lead at 12:08. A cross from Brown near the right end line into the middle was tapped to the left post by the raised boot of Dowd. Bono was waiting in the perfect position on the pitch to tip home the score just inside the upright from six yards out to make it 2-0.

Coastal Carolina finally managed its initial shot of the contest at 14:21 as midfielder Rylie Johnson fired wide of frame, but it just temporarily delayed what amounted all match long to a virtual Big Orange firing squad.

The UT assault continued as Dowd picked up her first score of the evening off a cross from the right wing by Harrison. Standing in the middle about six yards out, Dowd volleyed home the pass to improve the count to 3-0.

Out of the halftime break with Tennessee firmly in control of the proceedings both offensively and defensively, it was left to see how much the Lady Vols would add down the stretch.

A perfect long ball up the right side from Hatcher located Dowd with space to work. A quick dribble ended in a drive from 12 yards out that easily beat Spencer to raise the advantage to four scores at 54:22.

Coastal Carolina's Jessie Benchley headed a ball wide of frame during the 73rd minute, CCU's third shot of the contest. It wasn't until the 86:05 mark that the Chanticleers finally managed its only corner kick of the match. The cross into the middle eventually resulted in perhaps CCU's best opportunity of the night as defender Cami Skladany fired well high of net from deep out in the middle.

With UT freely subbing from its bench throughout the second frame, the Lady Vols managed to get 21 players time in the contest. Included among the many substitutions was Big Orange freshmen Tyler Law, Kaelyn Angelo, Alison Clarke, Iyana Moore and Lexi Krause.

Next up for Tennessee is the start of the rugged SEC campaign as South Carolina ventures to Knoxville for a 7 p.m. ET match on Friday, Sept. 23.

Admission for the effort to officially "Sell Out Regal Stadium" will be just $1, while the first 1,500 fans through the gate will receive special Tennessee Soccer Scarves.


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