Tennessee defeats Vandy, 2-1

Tennessee sophomore forward Kylee Rossi finished her second career golden goal with 19 seconds left in the first overtime period to give the 11th-ranked Lady Vols a 2-1 victory over rival Vanderbilt in Southeastern Conference action on Sunday afternoon at the Regal Soccer Stadium.

Rossi got the opportunity for the score after senior midfielder Kristen Doukakis flicked the Ali Christoph serve to her, where Rossi half-volleyed it into the net past second-team All-American Tyler Griffin for the score.

"Kylee's goal was very much needed," said UT head coach Angela Kelly. "It's a weight off her back because she's found herself in a lot of scoring opportunities where she's just missed the mark a little bit. That was a tremendous finish. That's much harder than some of the other opportunities she's had. It's a credit to her.

"Anytime you get into overtime, it's in a sense two wills battling for the outcome. We had a couple of good challenges in the midfield and up top. A couple of balls bounced our way (in overtime). I'm just proud of the effort the team put forth."

Tennessee (8-4-3, 4-2-2 SEC) took the early lead in the 12th minute when junior forward Emily Redberg headed home a Jordan Falcusan cross started by Mick Imgram's free kick.

Vanderbilt (8-3-5, 4-2-2 SEC) answered in the 78th minute when sophomore Amy Wilcox finished the long lead pass from senior Kari Boersma for her second goal of the year.

The Lady Vols started off the match hot again, as Rossi got two shots off in the first three minutes. First, Rossi attempted a chip shot, but it went off the crossbar. Eleven seconds later, Rossi's header shot went right to Griffin for the save.

After Redberg's score, the senior first-team All-American Christoph nearly gave UT a 2-0 advantage, as her 24-yard blast in the 25th minute just missed high. Rossi had another chance in the 32nd minute, but her try inside the six-yard box was stopped by Griffin. In the 43rd, Rossi got a step behind the defense and shot from the top of the box, but her chance missed right.

The Commodores took more chances in the second half, out-shooting the Lady Vols in the period, 11-5. Most of the tries were from over 18 yards out, as Tennessee's defense once again did a nice job of keeping the opposing offense at bay.

After the Black and Gold tied up the match, the Big Orange came back to life on offense. In the 84th minute, Christoph had a shot from just inside the penalty box hit off the left post. Rossi got the rebound, but her chance was knocked away by Griffin. On the ensuing corner kick, Redberg took the opportunity, but her chance was corralled by Vandy netminder.

In the match, the Lady Vols were out-shot, 19-18, by the Commodores, but UT did have a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks. Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Kitchin made six stops in her second career win. The victory, along with the Vandy loss and South Carolina tie against Mississippi, puts UT into second place in the race for the SEC Tournament. Florida leads the conference with a 6-1-1 league record.

Tennessee faces Alabama next Friday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Regal Soccer Stadium before traveling to Auburn for a Sunday contest, slated for a 2 p.m. EDT start. The Lady Vols' match against the Tigers will be shown live on regional networks FOX Sports Net (FSN) South, FSN Southwest and Sun Sports next Sunday.

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