The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Lady Vols tame Gators in conference opener

19 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Ian Cox/Tennessee Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Tennessee took a win in its SEC opener, defeating the Gators on the road, 2-1.

The seniors led the way for the Lady Vols (5-2-1, 1-0 SEC) with Mackenzie George and Claudia Dipasupil finding the net, and Lindsey Romig recording a career-high nine saves on the night.

Maddy Pirrello was the goal-scorer for Florida (2-6-0, 0-1 SEC). In the net, Alexa Goldberg had four saves.

"This was a great league win for our program on the road. Our team put in a gutsy, hard-fought performance anchored by Lindsey in the goal," said Tennessee head coach Joe Kirt.

"We jumped out to a two-goal lead and had a couple great opportunities to extend the lead - credit to their goalkeeper for keeping them in the game. I'm proud of our team's response after giving up a goal on a set piece; they did a very good job seeing the game out during the last few minutes."

George put some flourish on UT's first goal in the 19th minute, taking one touch off a pass from redshirt-junior Jaida Thomas before bending a ball into the upper left-hand corner of the goal.

Florida nearly evened the score 90 seconds later when Syd Kennedy got loose in the box and blasted one high toward the far corner, but Romig was there for the acrobatic save.

Tennessee went up 2-0 in the 31st minute when Dipasupil converted on a penalty kick after sophomore Taylor Huff was fouled in the box. UT got a couple good looks in the closing minutes of the first half but couldn't capitalize, taking a two-goal lead into the locker room.

Romig came up clutch again in the 69th minute, knocking a blast from close range clear of the goal, but Florida found the goal on the subsequent penalty kick when Pirrello found the ball in a scramble and knocked the ball in from six yards out.

Florida nearly tied it up in the 80th minute with a driving shot from Kennedy, but Romig came up with a big-time save to keep UT's one-goal advantage.

UF got one more good chance from 20 yards out with a minute remaining, but Romig collected her ninth save of the day, and the Lady Vols finished out the game to claim its first SEC win.

MONEY: With the third PK of her career against Florida, senior Claudia Dipasupil is now a perfect 3-3 from the penalty spot.

LOADED OFFENSE: Redshirt-junior Jaida Thomas leads the offense with eight goals on the season, but 10 different Lady Vols have found the net this season, with four scoring three or more goals.

UP NEXT: Tennessee continues SEC play, returning home to host No. 11 Alabama in a 6 p.m. ET match on Thursday.