ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Tenth-seeded Tennessee scored a goal less than three minutes into Wednesday's Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinal match and outlasted second-seeded Florida 1-1 (5-4 in penalty kicks) to advance to the SEC Tournament Semifinals at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.
"I am so proud of our team," Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky said. "Our players, right now, their confidence is growing and it's massive right now. They just believe and that's why we won. It had nothing to do with strategy, it had nothing to do with tactics, it was all about guts. We had a bunch of kids show some mettle and some fortitude on those PKs and we get to play again."
The Volunteers got on the board in the third minute when Hannah Wilkinson found Cheyenne Spade for her fifth goal of the season. Florida answered right before halftime with Annie Speese's third goal of the season to knot the score 1-1 headed into intermission.
After two full overtimes, the two squads went to penalty kicks. It was Tennessee's Spade who knocked in the deciding kick to allow the Volunteers to advance 5-4.
"I told them [before penalty kicks] that the result was the result," Pensky said. "We just tied the No. 9-RPI team in the country and we just put ourselves in a better place for the NCAA Tournament, so this was all about whether we get to stay in Orange Beach for a couple more days. So, the result had already occurred, we just wanted to go out and have some fun and see if we can stay for a couple more days."
For the match, Florida out-shot Tennessee 18-9. UF's Savannah Jordan and Tennessee's Wilkinson had four shots apiece.
Tennessee (10-9-2) advances to play the winner between third-seeded Kentucky and sixth-seeded Auburn at 6 p.m. CT Friday on the SEC Network. It is the Volunteers' first SEC Tournament semifinal appearance since 2011.
Florida is now 14-4-1 following Wednesday's match.
"It was a tough game because it got a little disjointed with the stoppages of play and the physicality of it," Florida head coach Becky Burleigh said. "But, in the end, I don't think we did a good enough job of sticking to our game plan as far as passing and receiving to be able to put a ball in the back of the net when we needed to."