Vols bounce back with a win over American

 

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Posted on September 5, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tennessee received multi-point performances from Rylie O’Keefe and Anna Bialczak and allowed just one shot in a 3-0 victory at American on Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

O’Keefe led the offensive charge with her second multi-point effort this season while Bialczak added a goal and an assist for her first points of the year. Maya Neal also scored her third goal of the season for the Volunteers (3-3) and Hannah Wilkinson ran her point streak to three straight games with an assist.

After a rough outing on Friday night at BYU, Tennessee’s defense rebounded nicely with a solid performance. The Vols did not give up a single shot in the first half and held the Eagles (0-6) to just one shot for the game, the fewest by a UT opponent in a match this season.

The Big Orange got off a fast start with a pair of goals in the first 14 minutes of action. O’Keefe, who leads UT with nine points this season, got the Vols on the board in the 12th minute on assists from Bialczak and Anna McClung. Bialczak headed a long free kick from McClung right to O’Keefe, who was waiting at the back post for an easy tap in to put Tennessee up 1-0.

Just over two minutes later the Vols struck again, this time on a perfectly executed corner kick from O’Keefe to Bialczak. O’Keefe’s service was sent right to the top of the six-yard box where Bialczak headed it home for her first goal of the season. It was the third goal for UT off a corner kick this season.

Tennessee went up 3-0 in the 58th minute on a breakaway goal from Neal. The redshirt freshman from Naperville, Ill., displayed her blazing speed by outrunning an Eagles’ defender before dribbling around the AU keeper for an easy finish into the open net. Neal now leads the team with three goals this year after missing all of last season with an injury.

The Vols dominated all of the offensive statistics, outshooting American 14-1 while taking eight corner kicks. Jamie Simmons was only called upon to make one save as she posted her second shutout this season and ninth of her Tennessee career.

After struggling to find the back of the net early on in the year, scoring only one goal in the first three games, the Vols have come alive offensively, scoring eight times in their last three matches. Five different players have scored goals, led by Wilkinson, O’Keefe and Neal, who have two goals apiece during that span.

Tennessee returns to Knoxville to open SEC play on Friday, Sept. 9 against Alabama. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Regal Soccer Stadium.

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