"I'm very pleased with the weekend results," UT Head Coach Angela Kelly said. "Having the opportunity in this conference to combine for three great goals is always exciting. Vanderbilt battled us hard for the entire game that's just a credit to (Vandy Head Coach) Ronnie Coveleskie and her squad. Relative to last weekend, I thought we improved in a lot of different areas."
Playing in front of a large Rocky Top contingent, junior forward Kylee Rossi scored what would prove to be the game-winner for Tennessee in the 60th minute, getting an assist from sophomore midfielder Mick Imgram. Senior forward Emily Redberg set up the play, passing the ball to Imgram, who worked into the center of the field before sliding a pass through to Rossi. The Pennington, N.J., native touched the ball, then beat Vandy freshman keeper Rachel Bachtel for the score. Rossi now leads the team with five goals this season, including four in league play. The assist is Imgram's team-leading fourth of the year.
"We always come out and give it our all," Emerson said. "At Tennessee we expect to win every game, so we're going to go out there and do whatever it takes to win."
The Lady Vols would need the Rossi goal, after a foul by sophomore defender Sarah Jackyra in the box gave Vanderbilt a penalty kick in the 84th minute. Vandy junior midfielder Amy Wilcox converted on the PK, putting the ball into the lower left corner, just out of reach of diving UT junior keeper Jaimel Johnson. The goal cut the UT lead to just one.
Just five minutes later, however, freshman midfielder Tanya Emerson sealed the victory for Tennessee. Emerson received the ball at the top of the box before turning to face the goal and putting an upper 90 shot past Bachtel. The goal is the Capistrano Beach, Calif. native's third of the season and second of the weekend.
"I just give it my all and play like it's my last game," Emerson said. "I just try to work hard for the team, whether it's getting up there for the rebounds or doing the dirty work and hitting it in. I'll do whatever it takes to get the win."
Emerson had a breakout weekend, tallying two goals, including her first game-winner in overtime at Kentucky on Friday night. The true freshman also helped create several scoring opportunities for the Lady Vols over the weekend, showing her true potential and battling in the midfield on both sides of the ball.
"I can't say enough about Tanya Emerson," Kelly said. "She's everywhere defensively, she helps settle the ball and even though she's small in stature she always comes up with the ball at her feet. She's one of those players that you are so grateful to have on your team. To have the game-winner on Friday night and to have our third goal today is a true testament to her outstanding abilities."
The Lady Vols got on the board just four minutes into the second half, getting a score from Redberg in the 49th minute. Emerson won a ball on the right flank, playing it into the box for Imgram who took a shot which was saved by Bachtel. The rebound came out to Redberg, who tapped it into the back of the net over Bachtel.
The two teams played an exciting second half, combining for 19 shots in the final 45 minutes. The Lady Vols put seven shots on frame in the second half, forcing Bachtel to make six total saves in the match.
For the second consecutive match and eighth time this season, the Lady Vols were held scoreless in the first half. The first half shutout also marked the ninth time this season UT has held an opponent scoreless in the first frame.
Vandy and UT were evenly matched through the first 45 minutes, with Vanderbilt taking eight shots and Tennessee taking five. The Orange and White forced Bachtel to make two saves in the half, while Johnson needed just one stop to hold the Commodores scoreless.
The goal for Redberg was her fourth of the season and her second in SEC play. Rossi and Redberg are now both just one goal away from tying for seventh in career goals all-time at UT. The two forwards have 23 career goals apiece, while Redberg's 60 career points put her in sole possession of 10th all-time at Tennessee.
The Lady Vols next take the field on Friday, Oct. 19, at Regal Soccer Stadium. Tennessee plays host to Ole Miss at 7 p.m. on Friday before facing Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon, live on FOX Sports Net.
LADY VOL VOLLEYBALL: Just two days after claiming a five-game victory over No. 18 LSU, the Tennessee volleyball team (8-9, 3-7) was unable to repeat the feat, falling to Ole Miss (17-4, 7-3 SEC), 30-19, 25-30, 30-25, 24-30, 15-5, Sunday afternoon at Stokely Athletics Center.
In spite of the loss, sophomore Farren Powe, freshman Nikki Fowler and sophomore Jena Berg recorded the first, sixth and 12th double-doubles of their careers, respectively.
"The good thing about this match was that we put ourselves in a position to win, even though we weren't playing as consistently as we needed to in order to be successful against a very good Mississippi team," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "I have to give credit to Mississippi for putting pressure on us with some tough serving. When it counted they simply played more consistently than we did.
"I am pleased with the fact that our team fought hard throughout the entire match," Patrick said. "Unfortunately, we had too many unforced errors at critical points, which stopped any momentum that we were able to generate."
For the first time in her career, Powe reached double-digits in a pair of statistical categories, knocking out 10 kills and establishing a personal-best with 10 blocks. Fowler and Berg accomplished the feat as well, as Fowler notched 14 putaways and 10 digs and Berg amassed 48 assists to go along with 11 digs. All UT players were both topped in the kills category by sophomore Leah Hinkey, as she posted 15 kills in the loss.
Defensively, sophomore libero Chloe Goldman followed up a 37-dig performance against No. 18 LSU with 23 digs versus Ole Miss, while fellow classmates Kylie Marshall and Jaye Loyd added 18 and 12 digs each.
Ole Miss utilized five runs of three or more points to dominate the first stanza and take the initial lead of the match with a 30-19 victory. Trailing early in the set at 5-8, the Big Orange ran off three straight scores with a kill by sophomore Milan Clarke and a pair of Rebel miscues, to reach an 8-8 deadlock. That would be the only tie score of the frame, as Ole Miss responded with a three-point run of its own to go ahead for good. That is not to say UT would not make a run at it, however.
With the score at 16-11 in favor of the Rebels, Tennessee got kills from Hinkey and Marshall, as well as a pair of Ole Miss attack errors to cut the deficit to just a single point, before Rebel head coach Joe Getzin called a timeout in an attempt to halt the Lady Vols' momentum. The tactic worked, as his squad answered by winning 14 of the next 19 points in the game, including the final six.
The Orange and White's fortunes reversed in game two, as it methodically took down Ole Miss to the tune of a 30-25 score. After trading the first four points, Tennessee took a lead it would never relinquish with a three-point run, highlighted by a pair of blocks. Slowly but surely, the Big Orange extended its advantage to as many as six scores at 22-16. At that point, the Rebels rattled off a trio of scores to move to within three. UT held Ole Miss at bay, however, eventually winning the frame on a sharp block by Berg and Hinkey and sending the match into the intermission with the score tied at one game each.
Following the break, an extremely tight battle ensued between the two squads, with Ole Miss emerging victorious, 30-25. The Rebels looked to be cruising to an easy win for the first portion of the game, jumping out to a 20-13 advantage. A smash by Fowler, however, sparked a Tennessee rally that returned the score to within one at 23-24. During that span, three UT players recorded kills, while three others combined for a pair of blocks. Once again, however, an Ole Miss timeout stopped the Orange and White in its tracks and marked the beginning of a four-score spree that effectively iced the game for Ole Miss.
After taking an early lead in the fourth frame, the Lady Vols were able to withstand a number of Rebel surges before sending the match to a deciding fifth game with a 30-24 victory. UT quickly went up 9-5 when Powe sent an Ole Miss attack crashing back to the floor, but the visiting squad fought right back with a trio of scores to make it 9-8. Shortly thereafter, the Orange and White returned the favor, making use of a Rebel service error and getting consecutive blocks to move its lead back to five at 14-9.
Ole Miss rallied, shrinking its deficit to just two points at 16-14, but Tennessee had the answer yet again, as back-to-back kills by Hinkey and Fowler preceded a Marshall service ace. Following a Rebel kill and service error, junior Laurén LaFlamme came into serve for the Orange and White. Her reign at the service line would last for the next six plays, giving her team a double-digit advantage at 25-15. From that point, UT cruised until an ace by Fowler ended the set and sent the match to a fifth game for the second time in the last three days.
Unlike its match against the Tigers, the Big Orange was unable to generate any kind of momentum in the fifth frame, with Ole Miss winning a 15-5 decision and taking home its 17th triumph of the season. During the stanza, the Rebels outhit UT, .429 to .077, and recorded seven kills to the Lady Vols' three.
Tennessee will have little time to dwell on this match, as it will return to the court in just two days when it steps out of conference play to take on Louisville. First serve is set for 7 p.m. in Kentucky on Tuesday, Oct. 16.