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No. 6 Vols shut out WSU to advance to the Sweet Sixteen

178 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Two first-half goals gave No. 6 UT a 2-0 win over No. 15 Washington State on Friday, advancing the Vols to the NCAA Round of 16.

The shutout was Tennessee's 13th of the season, setting a new single-season record and extending UT's streak of holding non-conference opponents scoreless to nine games.

Tennessee (20-2-0), a No. 3 seed, was just the fourth team to score multiple goals on WSU (14-3-4) this season.

Freshmen Taylor Huff and Jordan Fusco found the net for UT, while junior Lindsey Romig made six saves to record the clean sheet.

"Congrats to Washington State on a fantastic season. They're a very well-coached team. They were a handful," said Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky. "But credit to our team - we're pretty good. And we're pretty tough. Our quality was phenomenal today, and we're elated to be moving on. We got two goals from freshmen and a third straight shutout from Romig and our back five."

The Vols started the match hot, outshooting the Cougs 8-4 to go up 2-0 in the first half while taking five corners to their one.

Huff got UT's first chance of the game in the 10th minute, driving into the box and getting a shot off from 12 yards out, but a WSU defender got a foot on it, deflecting it wide.

Washington State countered in the 17th minute when Elyse Bennett broke behind the UT defense to go one-on-one with Romig, but a diving save by Romig kept the match scoreless.

Seven minutes later Fusco put the Vols out in front, placing a shot into the left corner of the net from 10 yards out off a perfectly placed entry pass from Mackenzie George.

Jaida Thomas nearly added a second to the scoreboard three minutes later, getting an open look from close range but missing wide right.

UT went up 2-0 in the 33rd minute when Huff beat the keeper low and to the right off a cross into the box from Hannah Zaluski.

Zaluski almost made it 3-0 before the break, blasting a header across the goal off a ball served in, but missing just wide.

The Cougs came out swinging in the second half, blasting a shot toward the far corner from the top of the box a minute in, but the Vols got a friendly bounce off the post to keep the match 2-0.

Fusco got another shot on frame from close range in the 59th minute, but Nadia Cooper was there for the save.

Cooper came up with another save in the 80th minute, diving to prevent a would-be goal by George. Hannah Tillett got a look off the rebound, but a WSU defender got a toe out to redirect it out of bounds.

The Vols held Washington State without a shot in the final 10 minutes, advancing to the NCAA Round of 16 with a 2-0 win.

UP NEXT: The Vols will play at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday against the winner of ninth-ranked No. 2 seed Michigan vs. Wake Forest. The match will be free to watch via a BTN+ livestream.

NCAA HISTORY: Tennessee is making its 13th overall NCAA Tournament appearance since 2001. UT is 16-10-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 7-2 in NCAA Second Round matches. Sunday will be the Vols' seventh appearance in the NCAA Round of 16. VS.

RANKED TEAMS: The win improves the Vols' record against ranked opponents to 5-0 on the season. Tennessee previously took victories over #5 Arkansas, #11 Auburn, #19 South Carolina, and #21 Ole Miss.

STINGY DEFENSE: The Vols have tallied three straight shutouts and haven't given up a single goal to a non-conference opponent through nine matchups outside of SEC play.