Tennesseetakes downFalcons


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Bowling Green State University women’s soccer team battled the University of Tennessee through a scoreless first half on the road.

However, the nationally ranked Volunteers broke through in the second half en route to a 4-0 win Wednesday evening at Regal Soccer Stadium.

In a battle of 2021 conference champions, the No. 21/22 Lady Vols (1-2-1) got a pair of goals from Jaida Thomas, while Taylor Huff had a goal and two assists.

A total of 21 different players saw action for the Falcons (0-2-1).

Tennessee, the reigning Southeastern Conference champions, picked up win number one of the young season.

The Lady Vols’ two losses have come to the teams currently ranked first (North Carolina) and second (Duke) in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches poll.

BGSU goalkeeper Lili Berg made four saves in goal for the Falcons before leaving the match in the 73rd minute.

Kasey Hartmann made her BGSU debut, playing the final 17:38 between the posts. The Saint Louis University transfer made her first regular-season appearance since playing 18-plus minutes in the Billikens’ win over Duquesne on April 4, 2021. Hartmann played the final 17:38 of the Tennessee match on Wednesday.

Wednesday night marked Berg’s second career start against an SEC team. She blanked those opponents for a total of 161:06 before allowing a goal early in the second half to the Lady Vols.

Berg’s first start vs. an SEC foe saw her keep a clean sheet against Ole Miss in the first round of the 2020(-21) NCAA Championships.

The Falcons had their chances against the Volunteers. The teams battled through a scoreless first half. Tennessee had a 10-1 advantage in total shot attempts, but only one of those shots was on goal, and Berg made the save.

The Falcons had several chances in the first 10-plus minutes. Katie Cox won the ball in the Tennessee end of the field, playing it ahead to Brynn Gardner, and Gardner hit a low right-side cross, but UT ‘keeper Lindsey Romig was able to gather it in.

BGSU’s Ellie Pool looked to center the ball to Kennedy White, but the cross was deflected by a defender and went directly to Romig. Moments later, BG won the ball back, but a Pool cross went through the penalty area.

At the other end, Tennessee’s Jordan Fusco fired high midway through the half, and Tara Katz hit a hard shot from distance that went just over the bar with under three minutes left until the break.

After combining for just one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes, the Falcons and Lady Vols had several shots on frame in the first two minutes of the second half.

With just 40 seconds gone, a shot by Tennessee’s Taylor Huff was blocked, but the ball went directly to Hannah Zaluski at the left corner of the six-yard box. Zaluski hit a quick shot, but Berg made a tough save.

Then, less than 30 seconds later, BGSU forward Lacee Bethea got behind the UT defense and hit a shot from just inside the 18-yard box, but Romig was able to make the stop.

Just over two minutes after that, a centering ball by Cox found the head of White in the penalty area, but White’s header went over the crossbar.

Soon after White’s shot, a ball bounced to an open Mackenzie George in the box at the other end, but Berg was in the perfect spot to make the save.

But, in the 52nd minute, the hosts broke on top. After a throw-in, a right-side cross by Maria Nelson found Huff near the 18. Huff settled the ball, whirled left and fired a shot into the lower left corner of the net.

Huff assisted Jaida Thomas for the Lady Vols’s second goal of the night in the 64th minute. Thomas took a Huff pass approximately 15 yards from goal, took a touch to the right, turned and fired a shot that found the net.

Huff and Thomas connected again, just 19 seconds later. This time, Thomas had space as she ran toward goal, and slotted the ball inside the far post.

The Falcons had another solid chance in the 74th minute. Jaden Frigerio played a ball to Bethea on the left side.

Bethea made a run past a defender, taking the ball all the way to the end line in the penalty area. She slid a pass to Emily Hollar, who hit a quick one-time effort from the six-yard line. Hollar’s hard shot, however, was hit directly at Romig, who made the save.

Just over a minute later, Tennessee’s Jenna Stayart completed the scoring, rolling a shot past Hartmann and into the far side of the net.

Hartmann went high into the air to break up a crossing ball with just under six minutes to go in the match.

BGSU now has an overall record of 58-28-12 since the start of the 2017 season. And, since the beginning of the 2018 campaign, the Falcons are 45-21-11.

The Falcons return home for a Sunday matchup vs. the University of Detroit Mercy. That match will begin at 1 p.m., and it will be Senior Day at Cochrane Stadium, with the seniors in the BGSU program recognized.

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