KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— It was senior night on Rocky Top as No. 21 Tennessee (11-4-2) downed Vanderbilt (11-3-3) 2-0 in its regular-season finale on Thursday night at Regal Soccer Stadium. The Lady Vols, thanks to a strong second half performance, took down the Commodores and took the crown as the SEC East co-champions for the second straight year.
The first half was filled with missed opportunities for Tennessee. The Lady Vols outshot Vandy 8-1 as the ball was in the attacking third for the vast majority of the first half. At one point, Tennessee had three consecutive corner kicks and came up empty on all three.
The Lady Vols began the second half with a bang as a rare Lawson Renie goal found the back of the net, putting Tennessee up 1-0.
About midway through the half, Taylor Huff was tripped deep in the attacking third. Huff converted her penalty kick to put the Lady Vols ahead 2-0. Abbey Burdette was critical in drawing the penalty for Tennessee.
“Her competitiveness and fight is who she is as a player,” said coach Joe Kirt. “She put them under pressure and went to make a play and it resulted in a penalty. It’s a microcosm of who she is as a player.”
The Lady Vols would hold on to take down Vandy 2-0, and will now prepare to head to the Florida panhandle along with the rest of the SEC for the SEC tournament in Pensacola.
“We’ve got to use the momentum, the energy, and the togetherness from this game to move forward,” said Abbey Burdette.
The Lady Vols finished as the second seed in the SEC East standings. Sunday’s loss to South Carolina, the other SEC East co-champion, was the deciding factor as both teams finished conference play with 15 points.