The Big Orange added their first insurance goal in the 52nd minute when Imgram blasted a direct kick from 19 yards out past a diving Forbis for her seventh score of the year. Tennessee finished the scoring with two goals in a three-minute span. In the 68th, sophomore forward Kylee Rossi finished off a long cross from junior forward Emily Redberg for her 10th goal this season. Three minutes later, senior midfielder Kristen Doukakis netted her fourth goal in four matches, putting in the rebound from Imgram's 25-yard rocket off the left post.
"I'm very, very proud of my team's performance this evening," said UT head coach Angela Kelly. "We had a lot of quality scoring opportunities that we finished. I challenged the team in pre-game to compete tonight, and they did. This is a great way to start the NCAA Tournament. We'll enjoy this for a couple of hours and then begin to prepare for Duke on Sunday."
Tennessee set the tone early in the night, firing off two shots in the opening minute. Rossi had her try from 25 yards blocked before Doukakis sent a strike toward goal from the top of the box. Forbis was there to make one of her five stops of the night. Later, in the seventh minute, Imgram tried her hand for the first time, but her driving low free kick missed right.
The focus shifted ends of the field in the 11th minute, as UT sophomore goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson was tested in her first start since a fractured clavicle caused her to miss eight matches. The first chance proved easy enough, as Johnson smothered a shot from UAB junior forward Jill Porto. But the next would test the netminder, as Porto tried again from 16 yards out with a bullet. Johnson quickly leaped and made a spectacular grab.
"When she shot it, I knew that it was the NCAA's - it was do-or-die," commented Johnson. "For my teammates, I just had to let it go."
UAB (8-12-1) would not go away, getting ample opportunities to go up in the 20th minute. After Jennifer Williams saw her shot blocked over the end line, Blazer midfielder Caitlin Marple served a corner kick into the penalty box. Forward Sally Palmer tried first, but her shot toward the near post was stopped by the Lady Vols. The rebound went back into the crowd around the six-yard line, where UAB freshman defender Rachael Axon finally was able to control it. She fired, but another UT player was able to clear the ball off the goal line.
Tennessee went on the offensive from there, as Doukakis took the counter opportunity and sent a strike from inside the 18-yard box toward goal, but Forbis was there to knock the ball away from the net.
Forbis made another outstanding stop in the 35th, as senior All-American midfielder Ali Christoph got a beautiful set-up from Rossi at the top of the penalty box. Christoph blasted the shot, but Forbis batted the ball over the crossbar for the stop.
Overall, Tennessee out-shot UAB, 20-8, while also holding a 7-3 advantage in penalty kicks. Johnson and Sarah Kitchin combined for the shutout, the fifth straight by the Lady Vols in NCAA Tournament matches in Knoxville. Imgram's four points tied a program high for an NCAA Tournament game, matching the outputs of Sue Flamini and Véronique Maranda in the 2002 and 2005 tourney openers, respectively.
Tennessee takes on Duke, who advanced in penalty kicks over Louisville , 6-5, at 2 p.m. EST on Sunday at the Regal Soccer Stadium.
UT: Jordan Falcusan (Mick Imgram), 44:03; Mick Imgram (unassisted), 51:15; Kylee Rossi, (Emily Redberg); 67:29; Kristen Doukakis, (Mick Imgram)70:13.
Shots: Tennessee 20, UAB 8.
Corner Kicks: Tennessee 7, UAB 3.
Goalkeeper Stats: Jaimel Johnson (UT) 3 saves, 0 goals, 79:22; Sarah Kitchin (UT) 0 saves, 0 goals, 10:38; Katie Forbes (UAB), 5 saves, 4 goals, 76:54; Julie Mcfarlane (UAB), 0 goals, 0 saves, 13:04.
Fouls: UAB 8, Tennessee 8.
Offsides: Tennessee 1, UAB 0.
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: Sarah Kitchin, Melissa Amado, Hayley Prendergast, Mia Boyd.
UAB: Katie Forbis (GK), Caitlin Marple (M), Nadine Liverpool (M), Katie Henricks (D), Jenny Meyer (M), Jill Porto (F), Sally Palmer (F), Laura Richards (D), Jennifer Williams (M), Philo Mbong (D), Rachael Axon (D).
Reserves: Julie Mcfarlane, Allison Auchter, Danya Barsalona, Toni Gockel.
Tennessee: Mick Imgram 6, Kristen Doukakis 4, Kylee Rossi 3, Ali Christoph 2, Jordan Falcusan 2, Emily Redberg 1, Leslie Vineyard 1, Melissa Amado 1.
UAB: Jill Porto 3, Sally Palmer 2, Nadine Liverpool 1, Jennifer Williams 1, Rachael Axon 1.