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No. 11 Vols capture road win over Lions

276 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

NEW YORK -- No. 11 Tennessee bounced back with a 3-0 victory at Columbia Sunday afternoon at the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium in New York City. The Vols improved to 3-1 on the season with the program's first victory over an Ivy League opponent.

Tennessee took a 2-0 lead early in the match with debut goals from freshman midfielder Isabella Cook and graduate transfer Michelle Alozie. Rookie forward Alicia Donley erased any doubt with a score midway through the second half.

Coming off a narrow 1-0 defeat at Rutgers, Brian Pensky's Vols responded with a victory in typical Tennessee fashion. Since 2016, UT owns a 13-3-1 (.794) record coming off a loss and has not suffered back-to-back losses since October of 2017.

"This was a 'response' opportunity for us this afternoon," Pensky said following the win. "It all started between our ears - with our focus, our discipline, our ability and willingness to take care of the details and the job at hand. Scoring two goals in the first nine minutes certainly set the tone and made a statement.

"Complete credit to our kids. Very nice for them to be able to end the weekend on a high note and get back to Knoxville with a win."

Cook helped the Vols strike early with her first career goal in the third minute of action. Following a long service into the box from center back Wrenne French, a Columbia defender headed the ball right to Cook's feet. The Elmhurst, Illinois native capitalized with a shot from 18 yards into the upper left corner, just beyond the reach of the Lions' freshman keeper.

Alozie gave Tennessee a 2-0 cushion just six minutes later, scoring off her left foot from point blank range after receiving a short cross from senior forward MA Vignola. It was her first goal for Tennessee and the second of her career against Columbia (0-1-1), as the grad transfer from Yale scored against the Lions on Oct. 29, 2016.

Tennessee entered the halftime locker room ahead 2-0, with a 6-3 advantage in shot attempts and a 2-0 edge in corner kicks. The Vols held possession for 59 percent of the opening frame.

Donley scored the third and final goal for Tennessee, striking through in the 63rd minute on a low line drive from 12 yards out off of a failed Columbia clearance. It was the second goal of the season for the freshman forward from Pickerington, Ohio.

Tennessee outshot Columbia 10-5 for the match with an impressive eight shots on frame. The Vols also held a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks and possessed the ball for 59 percent of the contest.

Rookie goalkeeper Lindsey Romig earned her first win between the posts with 76 minutes and two saves on Sunday afternoon. Charli Pogany finished the combined shutout with one save over the final 14 minutes of play.

UP NEXT: Tennessee returns to Regal Soccer Stadium Thursday, Sept. 5 to host Southeastern Louisiana. Kickoff between the Vols and Lions is set for 7 p.m. in Knoxville.