Soccer team wins shutout

The Lady Vol soccer team kicked off its Southeastern Conference slate in winning fashion on Friday night with a 2-0 shutout over visiting Mississippi State at the UT Soccer Complex.

Scoreless at the break, the Orange and White used tallies by freshman Ali Christoph (Columbus, Ohio) and junior Lyndsey Patterson (Puyallup, Wash.), as well as a strong defense backstopped by junior All-American Keeley Dowling (Carmel, Ind.) and sophomore keeper Vanessa Phillips-Bosshart (Vernon, Conn.), en route to its fourth shutout of the year. The triumph snapped a two-match slide for Tennessee (7-3/1-0 SEC) and evened the program's mark at 4-4 in league openers, while the Bulldogs fell to 6-4-1 overall and 2-7 all-time in SEC season debuts.

''I am really excited for my young women tonight,'' said UT Head Coach Angela Kelly. ''They played with a tremendous amount of heart and a great mentality. Our central midfield played the best game they've had all season and worked extremely hard for 90 minutes. Obviously, any time you can win by shutout is another true success and that was one of our goals this evening.''

''Lyndsey (Patterson) scored a very dynamic goal, which is something she has been deserving of for the last several weeks, and I thought our backline made many great tactical decisions throughout the match. The girls right now need to re-focus their thoughts on Ole Miss, who will be coming in here on Sunday with a vengeance.''

The first 45 minutes did not see many scoring chances for either team, although Tennessee held a 5-2 edge on the shot chart. Junior Sue Flamini (Cranford, N.J.) attempted the opening frame's lone corner kick in the eighth minute, but MSU rookie netminder Luisa Marzotto was there to deny freshman Melissa Amadoís (Surrey, British Columbia) bid for her first career goal. The Bulldogs later countered with a shot by sophomore Betty Ann Casey at 28:06 that was scooped up by Phillips-Bosshart.

The hosts turned up the offensive pressure following the break, as sophomore Talia Wright (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Flamini each had scoring opportunities in the 47th minute and senior Carie Swibas (Lakewood, Colo.) nudged an attempt wide right at 52:18.

As Tennessee senior Erica LaShomb (Greeneville, Tenn.) maneuvered inside the 18 a couple of minutes later, she was hauled down from behind by a Bulldog defender, resulting in a penalty kick. Christoph stepped up to the hash mark at 55:00 and drilled her second goal of the season into the middle of the net past a diving Marzotto to help the Orange draw first blood. The successful conversion ended a 207:07 scoreless drought for the Lady Vols dating back to their contest against Maryland on Sept. 20. LaShomb had a chance of her own just 1:31 later that was denied by Marzotto and the duo of Flamini and Wright would soon follow with attempts that were saved by the goalie, who has been tabbed as the SEC's Defensive Player of the Week twice in her maiden campaign.

With Mississippi State still trailing by the 1-0 count, sophomore Heather Ammann rattled the right post with a shot at 76:32 and Phillips-Bosshart snuffed out the rebound taken by Casey. Tennessee would not allow the 'Dogs any attempts for the remainder of the match.

Patterson would provide the Big Orange with an insurance goal with 10:47 remaining, when she took a pass from Flamini on the right wing and dribbled through several defenders in front of the box. The forward then managed to beat Marzotto down low for her fourth goal of the year, equaling her output as a sophomore.

UT wound up with a 16-4 disparity in shots, including an 11-2 margin in the second half. The Lady Vols also held Mississippi State without a corner kick and totaled five of their own. Marzotto made seven saves in 84:45 minutes of action before being replaced by junior Jill Breland for the final 5:15. Phillips-Bosshart was credited with a pair of stops as she lowered her goals against average to 0.98.

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