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Lady Vols extend win streak over Gators to seven

75 days ago
Tennessee Athletics
Photo: Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Lady Vols posted a shutout to extend their win streak over the Gators to seven, taking a 2-0 victory in Regal Stadium on Thursday.

Tennessee, who has not conceded a goal to Florida at home since 2017, out-shot UF 13-8 on the night. It marks the most shots Florida has allowed this season, having limited opponents to an average of 4.3 shots per game through the eight matches prior.

Graduate Sizzy Lawton netted the game-winner in the 24th minute off an assist by junior Jordan Fusco, and freshman Kate Ruyon added a second in the 62nd minute. In goal, redshirt-freshman Abby Reisz made the start, recording one save. Redshirt-sophomore Ally Zazzara took over in the second half, making three saves on the evening.

Florida was led by Maddy Pirrello and Emily Yaple who each took two shots and put one on frame. Alexa Goldberg was in the net for the Gators, logging five saves.

"We competed hard and had to deal with their pressure, but our players did a really good job at managing that," said Tennessee head coach Joe Kirt.

"There were moments we could be a little cleaner, but we got back to who we are. We didn't execute perfectly, but the intentions were good, and we scored a couple of good goals. We had a number of really good chances in the second half against a team that has been pretty good defensively, so I'm really happy with our performance on the ball and our confidence on the ball, starting from our backs all the way through our front runners."

The action stayed largely in the middle of the field through the first 20 minutes, with UT managing two shots to Florida's one until the 24-minute mark when Fusco found Lawton on the left side of the 18-yard box, and Lawton buried a left-footed shot far post.

With just under nine minutes left in the half, senior Lawson Renie worked her way through a host of Gators to the center line and played a long ball behind the UF defense to freshman Sarah Greiner, but Goldberg was able to beat her to the ball, shutting down the attack.

The Lady Vols got one more chance two minutes before the whistle when junior Nolyn Bartholomew sprinted to the baseline and played a cross for graduate Nayeli Diaz who was breaking into the box, but the keeper intercepted the pass, and the 1-0 scoreline held through halftime.

Fusco nearly added a goal by her name in the 53rd minute, connecting on the end of a free kick from freshman Linette Hofmann to send a header screaming toward the side net, but Goldberg knocked it wide with the diving save.

Seven minutes later, Fusco had another opportunity, winning the ball at midfield and slicing through the Florida defense to go one-on-one with Goldberg who came up with a masterful save.

Runyon set the score at 2-0 in the 62nd minute, beating two players before ripping a shot from the top of the box over the keeper's head to ricochet off the crossbar and into the net.

Florida put three shots on frame in the closing minutes of the match, but Zazzara collected the saves to keep the shutout in tact.

UP NEXT: The Lady Vols will head to No. 7 South Carolina for a 7 p.m. ET matchup on Sunday that will be broadcast on ESPNU.