Lady Vols fall, 2-0, to Kentucky

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Two second-half scores pushed the second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats into the Southeastern Conference Tournament finals, as they defeated third-seed Tennessee, 2-0, in the semifinals on Friday evening at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. The win puts Kentucky's record at 13-6-3, while Tennessee moves to 11-6-3 on the year.

The Wildcats took the initial lead in the 54th minute, as midfielder Megan Jones fired a shot from the left side of the penalty box about 15 yards out past Tennessee goalkeeper Sarah Kitchin for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Kentucky iced the game in the 65th minute as Sarah Gaunt punched in a shot after getting the through ball from SEC All-Freshman Team forward Giuleana Lopez.

For most of the first half, Tennessee had control of the match, out-shooting Kentucky, 8-2, in the period. Senior All-American midfielder Ali Christoph got a chance in the fifth, getting a ball 14 yards out after a Sarah Van Sickle throw-in. Christoph, the SEC's Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year, fired, but her shot missed left.

Tennessee turned up the offensive pressure around the 26th minute, first by senior midfielder Kristen Doukakis. Her chance from the top of the box was stopped by Kentucky's second-team All-SEC goalkeeper Anne Ogundele. Sophomore midfielder Leslie Vineyard took the next try in the 31st minute, shooting from 22 yards out, but Ogundele punched the ball over the goal for the save. Doukakis tried again a minute later, but this time Jones was at the right post to clear away the shot.

In the 33rd minute, the Big Orange thought they might have taken a lead, as Kylee Rossi put a ball into the net, but it was waved off due to a handball call on the sophomore.

Junior forward Emily Redberg got the next chance in the 37th minute, but her strike from the top of the box was snagged by Ogundele. Three minutes later, redshirt freshman forward Mick Imgram drove her direct kick from 40 yards out on the right touchline toward goal, but the Wildcat goalkeeper was once again there for the stop.

Tennessee got its final chance of the first half when the SEC Offensive Player of the Year Rossi fired from 25 yards out, but the ball missed right.

After Kentucky's first score, the Lady Vols tried to strike back, as three minutes after the goal, Rossi tried to volley a shot past Ogundele to the far post, but it missed right.

Tennessee's last good look came in the 67th, as Christoph's eight-yard shot off a Redberg cross was stopped by Ogundele.

In the match, Tennessee led both the shot (11-6) and corner kick (3-1) categories. Ogundele made six saves in her league-leading 14th shutout of the year. Tennessee suffered its first defeat in an SEC Tournament semifinal, while Kentucky advances into its first championship match since 1995.

The Lady Vols now will wait to see if they have advanced into the field of 64 in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will be broadcast on Monday afternoon on ESPNEWS at 5:30 p.m. EST.

SCORING SUMMARY

UK: Megan Jones (unassisted), 53:29; Sarah Gaunt (Giuleana Lopez); 64:56.

Shots: Tennessee 11, Kentucky 6.

Corner Kicks: Tennessee 3, Kentucky 1.

Goalkeeper Stats: Sarah Kitchin (UT) 2 saves, 2 goals, 90:00; Anne Ogundele (UK), 6 saves, 0 goals, 90:00.

Fouls: Kentucky 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: none.

Kentucky: Anne Ogundele (GK), Sarah Gaunt (M), Julie Hull (D), Kelsey Fenix (M), Nicola Holdsworth (M), Callie Lanphier (M), Megan Jones (M), Katie Fahey (D), Kate Hughes (D), Giuleana Lopez (F), Tara Herold (D).

Reserves: Caitlin Coughlin, Ashley Menick, Kristin Kover.

Shots

Tennessee: Kylee Rossi 3, Kristen Doukakis 2, Emily Redberg 2, Ali Christoph 2, Mick Imgram 1, Leslie Vineyard 1.

Kentucky: Sarah Gaunt 2, Giuleana Lopez 2, Megan Jones 1, Ashley Menick 1.


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