Tennessee started its women’s soccer season in style Friday night.
The Lady Vols scored twice in the first half and proceeded to a 3-1 victory over Oklahoma before a crowd of 1,524 at Regal Soccer Stadium.
Tori Bailey, Caroline Brown and Cheyenne Spade scored the goals that helped UT win its seventh consecutive season opener.
Bailey scored in the 13th minute. Brown’s match-winner came just before halftime and Spade scored her first goal as a Lady Vol in the 49th minute.
“All wins are good and certainly to get the first one is huge for our team’s confidence,” UT coach Brian Pensky said in a school release. “We are a new team and you never know when you go into our first game. With the preseason game last week, so you start to get a feel for your team. When you get to play for real, that’s when the lights are on and you really get to measure yourselves.”
Goalkeeper Julie Eckel made eight saves as Oklahoma fired 14 shots to Tennessee’s 13.
Bailey, who started at midfield and played 64 minutes, took the ball off a deflection and made a move to split two defenders as a prelude to her goal. At the top of the box, Bailey ripped a shot on the ground to the lower left to give UT a 1-0 lead.
Devin Barrett, the younger sister of former UT forward Jayden Barrett, evened the game in the 38th minute when a foul in the box gave her a penalty kick. She scored on the lower-left side.
Brown made a strong move with 23 seconds left. Megan Erskine played the ball through to Emily Morrow. Then Brown muscled her way diagonally through the right side of the box and fired a shot to the upper right corner, giving UT the lead for good.
In the 49th minute Brittney Wade sent a pass into the box to Hannah Wilkinson. She pushed a ball out to Spade, who fired a shot in the lower left corner to push Tennessee’s lead to two.
Eighteen different Lady Vols saw action, including seven newcomers.
Kennesaw State beat Tennessee Tech 1-0 in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader.