LSU took the early lead in the 15th minute, as freshman forward Rachel Yepez pushed a ball past UT starting goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson after getting the lead passes from sophomore Roslyn Jones and freshman Brittany Lowe.
The Orange and White came back to tie the match at 1-1 in the 27th minute when junior forward Emily Redberg blasted a ball from 23 yards out into the net for her fourth goal of the year. Senior All-American midfielder Ali Christoph picked up the assist, her second of the year, which moves her into a tie for 10th all-time in career points with former Lady Vol standout Sue Flamini.
Just after UT knotted up the match, Johnson stopped a Katherine Lagow shot in what would turn into her only save in the match. At 27:21, Johnson collided with one of the Lady Vol defenders and went down. She was removed from the match with a shoulder injury, bringing on freshman Molly Baird for her first collegiate action in goal.
The loss of Johnson seemed to spark the Tennessee offense, as the Lady Vols out-shot the Tigers, 16-3, over the last 62 minutes of play. Three shots toward the end of the first half hit the crossbar. Christoph saw her chance in the 29th minute carom off the bar and over the net, while two minutes later redshirt freshman forward Mick Imgram watched her strike glance off the top of the bar. Sophomore forward Kylee Rossi had her 38th minute chance hit the steel and bounce over the goal as well.
Tennessee nearly took a lead into the half after Imgram's direct kick was stopped by Vogler. The ball bounced away from the Tigers' netminder, where Rossi had a chance to knock in the rebound, but her try missed right.
"When we had a couple of opportunities on the goal line in the last minute of the half," commented Tennessee head coach Angela Kelly. "They realized we were knocking at the door. LSU did a good job to be scrappy in their defensive box and cleared numerous balls off the line. That's just having a mentality."
Before Falcusan's match-clincher, the Lady Vols had a chance to go ahead in the 56th minute when Doukakis crossed a ball into the six-yard box for Rossi. A scrum ensued, with Rossi seeing her try cleared by a Tiger defender. Doukakis had a chance with the rebound, but her try was grabbed by Vogler.
In the 79th minute, Baird made the second of her saves, corralling Nikki Bush's strike. After drop-kicking the ball away, Baird fell to the ground in pain, stopping play again. The freshman was removed from the match with a knee injury, bringing on sophomore Sarah Kitchin for her first appearance in the Orange and White. Kitchen stopped the only shot she saw, a header try from LSU's leading scorer Michelle Makasini in the 84th minute.
In the match, the Lady Vols held a 20-7 advantage in shots while taking two more corner kicks than the Tigers. Baird earned her first career win with her 57 minutes in goal.
"We're always appreciative of wins," said Kelly. "LSU was very well organized tonight, as I expected. It's a little bit bittersweet with the loss of Jaimel Johnson. But it's another win in our column, and the girls are still undefeated at home this year, which is exciting. We'll just have to really prepare and reorganize.
"We've had numerous amounts of injuries this year, more than I could ever imagine to our starting squad. This makes it that much more interesting."
The Lady Vols wrap up the weekend with a 12:30 p.m. match against Arkansas on Sunday.
LSU: Rachel Yepez (Roslyn Jones, Brittany Lowe); 14:30.
UT: Emily Redberg (Ali Christoph); 26:25.
UT: Jordan Falcusan (Kristen Doukakis); 69:30.
Shots: Tennessee 20, LSU 7.
Corner Kicks: Tennessee 3, LSU 1.
Goalkeeper Stats: Jaimel Johnson (UT) 1 save, 1 goal, 27:21; Molly Baird (UT) 2 saves, 0 goals, 51:37; Sarah Kitchen (UT) 1 save, 0 goals, 11:02; Valerie Vogler (LSU), 4 saves, 2 goals, 90:00.
Fouls: Tennessee 9, LSU 9.
Offsides: LSU 2, Tennessee 1.
Tennessee: Jaimel Johnson (GK), Jenny Jeffers (D), Kristen Doukakis (M), Emily Redberg (F), Kylee Rossi (F), Mick Imgram (F), Sarah Van Sickle (D), Erica Griffin (D), Leslie Vineyard (M), Jordan Falcusan (D), Ali Christoph (M).
Reserves: Molly Baird, Sarah Kitchen.
LSU: Valerie Vogler (GK), Malorie Rutledge (M), Caroline Vanderpool (M), Michelle Makasini (M), Chelsea Potts (D), Brittany Lowe (D), Nikki Bush (D), Rachel Yepez (F), Katherine Lagow (M), Roslyn Jones (F), Casey Crawford (D).
Reserves: Amanda Carreno, Joleen Phillips, Leeza Iver, Kathleen Walsh.
Tennessee: Kylee Rossi 4, Mick Imgram 4, Emily Redberg 4, Ali Christoph 4, Kristen Doukakis 2, Leslie Vineyard 1, Jordan Falcusan 1.
LSU: Rachel Yepez 2, Michelle Makasini 1, Nikki Bush 1, Katherine Lagow 1, Roslyn Jones 1, Casey Crawford 1.