No. 23 Tennessee Takes OT Win Over Soccer, 3-2
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Sophomore midfielder Alex Arlitt and freshman striker Fernanda Pina each scored their third goals of the season in the second half of play, but the visiting LSU Tigers suffered a 3-2 overtime defeat to the 23rd-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers on Sunday afternoon at the Regal Soccer Stadium.
The Tigers (6-7-4, 2-6-2 SEC) saw their five-game unbeaten streak against the Lady Volunteers (11-4-2, 6-3-1) snapped as they dropped their first match in the series since the 2008 season.
After the teams played to a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes of regulation, Tennessee's sophomore striker Hannah Wilkinson scored the game-winning goal in the 96th minute after receiving a through ball from junior forward Caroline Brown behind the LSU back line and firing an eight-yard strike into the back of the net at the 95:18 mark of the first overtime period.
While neither team was able to break the ice in the first half, they combined for a flurry of four goals in the second half as the Tigers played their eighth overtime game of the campaign.
Pina put the Tigers on top in the 63rd minute when she buried a corner kick service by fellow freshman Jade Kovacevic into the back of the net with a running one-time strike from inside the six-yard box. Pina scored her team-leading third goal of the season and Kovacevic served up her team-leading fourth assist of the season at the 62:40 mark.
But the Lady Volunteers struck back inside of five minutes of LSU's breakthrough when midfielder Kylie Bono tallied a fifth goal of the year on a cracker from distance that found the back of the net inside the top-left corner of the goal in the 68th minute after she was played down the right side by defender Brittney Wade. Midfielder Amy Harrison then gave the home side a 2-1 lead in the 82nd minute after burying a header from eight yards out following an end-line cross into the box from midfielder Tori Bailey attacking down the left flank.
Just when it seemed as though Tennessee was taking control of the match late in the second half, Arlitt converted a turnover in the midfield by the Lady Volunteers into the equalizer as she raced to free herself near the top of the box and fired a 25-yard rocket inside the left post for her third goal of the season at the 84:01 mark.
The teams needed extra time to decide the outcome as Wilkinson delivered a 3-2 victory for the home side with her Golden Goal at 95:18 of the first overtime period.
LSU's junior goalkeeper Megan Kinneman denied the Lady Volunteers with perhaps their best opportunity to break the deadlock in the opening half with a brilliant diving save on a wide-open 14-yard strike by Tennessee's junior striker Caroline Brown.
After drawing two Tiger defenders to the top of the box on the attack down the right side, senior striker Alexis Owens cut back to the left and centered a pass to an open Brown filling the space through the middle. Brown took one touch and fired a 14-yard strike on frame that Kinneman denied while diving to her right.
Kinneman made six saves on eight Tennessee shots in the opening frame as the sides played to a scoreless draw at the halftime break. The Tiger goalkeeper saved 10 shots on the afternoon.
The Tigers head back on the road next weekend as they take on the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, Miss., on Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT and the Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 1 p.m. The team then returns home on Thursday, Oct. 25, for its regular-season finale in Baton Rouge against the Arkansas Razorbacks.