Record game for Lady Vols

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – A school-record offensive performance in the Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament leads the 20th-ranked Lady Vols to the SEC Tournament semifinals with a 5-2 victory over sixth-seeded Auburn at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.

Both senior midfielder Kristen Doukakis and sophomore forward and SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kylee Rossi netted two goals to push Tennessee into its fifth consecutive semifinal match.

The win moved both Auburn and Tennessee to 11-5-3 overall on the year.

Auburn had the first opportunity in the match, as second-team All-SEC midfielder Jenny Zarzour took a direct kick from 23 yards out. The shot was struck well, but it missed left.

Redshirt freshman forward Mick Imgram got Tennessee's first good look in the 17th minute, getting a great lead pass from senior defender Jenny Jeffers. Taking on Auburn's sophomore goalkeeper Allison Whitworth in a 1v1 situation, Imgram saw her shot miss just left. Two minutes later, junior forward Emily Redberg took a chance from 12 yards out on the right side of the penalty box, but Whitworth made a diving stop.

The Tigers tried again in the 21st, as senior Jac Schwarz poked a shot toward goal from inside the 18, but Doukakis was there to clear the ball.

The scoring started in the 27th minute when Imgram drove a ball from 40 yards out past Whitworth on the near post. The goal was Imgram's sixth of the season and fourth from well outside the 18-yard box.

UT tried to extend the lead when Doukakis poke a shot from inside the six, but Whitworth covered the ball for the save.

Doukakis continued the scoring, heading home her second goal of the year after the corner kick from Imgram in the 36th minute. The score marked just the second time the Lady Vols had made two goals in the first half this season, the other time coming in the 2-1 win at Florida.

Two minutes after the Orange and White took the 2-0 advantage, Auburn freshman midfielder Jenni Prescott cut the lead in half with a shot from the top of the penalty box that got past UT goalkeeper Sarah Kitchin. Prescott became the first person to score against the Lady Vols in the SEC Tournament since Florida's Monica Hoyles ended the 2004 tournament, held in Auburn, with a golden goal at 108:58, with 327:05 elapsing in between the scores.

Just four minutes into the second half, the Tigers had a golden opportunity to tie the match snuffed out by Kitchin. AU freshman forward Caitlin King fired from the six-yard stripe, but the Lady Vol netminder was able to make the save.

The scoreboard lights would change again in the 65th minute when Rossi struck for the first time. She kneed in her eighth goal of the season from inside the six-yard box after Doukakis flicked on the corner kick by senior All-American midfielder Ali Christoph.

In the 70th, Christoph saw a header chance swatted away from goal by Whitworth. The 72nd minute saw Auburn senior Kristin Stewart try to bring the Tigers within one again, but her shot from the top of the box was smothered by Kitchin. On the counter opportunity, Redberg found Rossi with a nice lead pass, helping her get behind the defense, where the SEC Offensive Player of the Year finished the work, getting past Whitworth before putting in her second goal of the night.

"She came up big," Tennessee head coach Angela Kelly said of Rossi. "Her finish off the corner kick and flick was world class. It's just exciting. She's very deserving of the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award, and she showed that today."

Auburn would not go away, first seeing a Schwarz try in the 77th minute stopped by Christoph at the left post. Sophomore Kara Kasten put Auburn down by two when she poked in a shot in the 81st. The Tigers would continue to fight, but the Big Orange backline would not allow another good opportunity. The Lady Vols even added another insurance goal with 14 seconds remaining, as Doukakis poked a shot over the goal line from inside the six.

"To Auburn 's credit, we were up, 4-1, and I didn't feel comfortable," said Kelly. "They kept on putting pressure on us. Right down to 14 seconds (Doukakis' second score), I was just like ‘Gosh.' We have to fix that as we go forward.

"We did a great job taking advantage of our scoring opportunities. We scored some really attractive goals, but it was a tough battle. Our challenge, because we are so thin, is to make sure we take advantage of our opportunities. I've been asking them to do that over and over. The past couple of weeks have been good for us. It's just been exciting to see."

Tennessee had advantages in both shots, 16-13, and corner kicks, 5-3. Kitchin made five saves to move to 5-2 since being thrust into the starting role. The five goals in the match top all the Big Orange's tallies in nine previous years in the SEC Tournament. In two of the Lady Vols' tourney championships, they scored four goals in the three matches combined, while last year's title-winning group put just three into the net over the weekend.

Tennessee takes on second-seeded Kentucky in the SEC Tournament semifinals at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.


UT: Mick Imgram (unassisted), 26:10; Kristen Doukakis (Mick Imgram); 35:17; Kylee Rossi (Kristen Doukakis, Ali Christoph), 64:29; Kylee Rossi (Emily Redberg), 71:39; Kristen Doukakis (unassisted), 89:46.

AU: Jenni Prescott (Caitlin King, Jenn Johnson); 37:05; and Kara Kasten (unassisted), 81:00.

Shots: Tennessee 16, Auburn 13.

Corner Kicks: Tennessee 5, Auburn 3.

Goalkeeper Stats: Sarah Kitchin (UT) 5 saves, 2 goals, 90:00; Allison Whitworth (AU), 5 saves, 5 goals, 90:00.

Fouls: Auburn 7, Tennessee 6.

Starting Lineups

Tennessee: Sarah Kitchin (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: Melissa Amado, Hayley Prendergast, Mia Boyd.

Auburn: Allison Whitworth (GK), Caitlin King (F), Jenny Zarzour (M), Jac Schwarz (F), Jenn Johnson (D), Ronda Brooks (D), Lizzie Hamersly (D), Chelsea Yauch (M), Jenni Prescott (M), Molly Turner (D), Kristin Stewart (F).

Reserves: Kori Hoelscher, Becca Howell, Stephanie Fransoso, Kara Kasten, Amanda Garcia, Summer Ragsdale.


Tennessee: Kylee Rossi 5, Kristen Doukakis 4, Mick Imgram 4, Emily Redberg, Erica Griffin 1.

Auburn: Jac Schwarz 2, Chelsea Yauch 2, Jenni Prescott 2, Kristin Stewart 2, Kara Kasten 2, Caitlin King 1, Jenny Zarzour 1, Molly Turner 1.

LEAGUE HONORS: Tennessee picked up two of the highest honors from the Southeastern Conference coaches in the annual All-SEC awards, presented by the league this week.

Senior Ali Christoph garnered SEC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year honors with Mississippi's Lyndsey Williams. Sophomore Kylee Rossi picked up the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award, while both Christoph and Rossi made the All-SEC first team.

Christoph, a 2005 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas All-American, becomes Lady Vol soccer's initial recipient of the league's Scholar-Athlete award. The senior midfielder finished SEC play in a tie for second overall with five assists while ranking sixth in conference action with her 11 points.

Christoph has etched her name in Tennessee's record books already, appearing in the top 10 for career stats in points, goals, game-winning goals, assists, shots, starts and appearances. Her next start ties her for first all-time at UT in that category with fellow All-American Keeley Dowling. Christoph has maintained a 3.74 grade point average in education during her time at UT.

Rossi followed up last year's second-team All-SEC accolades with the league's highest honor for an offensive player. The sophomore forward tied for second in the SEC with 15 points on the year, tying for third in goals (6) and eighth in assists (3) in league action. Rossi currently ranks fifth in UT history in goals by a sophomore with seven, while her career goal total of 15 stands 13th in the Lady Vol record books.

Kentucky's Warren Lipka was named SEC Coach of the Year - an award Kelly won or shared the past three seasons - after his Wildcats finished second in the league. Florida, the SEC regular season champion, topped all squads with three players on the first team. Vanderbilt garnered the most honors over the two All-SEC squads, getting four players onto the lists, including a league-high three in the second group. A trio of LSU Tigers topped the All-Freshman Team list, while Georgia was the only other program to get more than one individual on the rookie squad.

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