KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Lady Vols kicked off the regular season in grand fashion on Thursday, recording a 4-1 victory over Cal in Regal Stadium.
Four different Lady Vols put a ball in the net for Tennessee, with three tallying their first career goals. Freshmen Kate Runyon and Sarah Greiner and redshirt-senior Maria Nelson all carded their first collegiate goals while Kameron Simmonds rounded out the scoring.
Junior Velize King was the lone goal scorer for the Golden Bears.
Right from the kickoff, the Big Orange dominated possession. The first breakthrough came in the 19th minute when Runyon got through the back line for the first goal of the season. Redshirt-junior Sydney Hennessey provided the assist, setting up Runyon’s first strike of her collegiate career.
Cal countered with a shot on the other end, but just four minutes later, Nelson extended Tennessee’s lead to 2-0. This time it was freshman Linette Hofmann who earned the assist, playing a ball across the middle that Nelson ran onto.
The 2-0 score would hold through the half, with UT outshooting the Golden Bears 8-3.
Ten minutes into the second half, Simmonds capitalized on a penalty kick following a handball in the box, burying the ball in the left side of the net and improving the Big Orange’s advantage to 3-0.
Cal was able to put one on the board as King breached Tennessee’s defense with a tricky far-post shot from near the baseline in the 79th minute.
Tennessee reclaimed a three-goal lead moments later when Greiner extended on a diving shot to drive home the final score of the night. Graduate Sizzy Lawton earned her first assist as a Lady Vol on the play, and UT went on to close out the 4-1 victory.
UP NEXT: Tennessee will head to Nashville to take on Lipscomb on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET.
IN SEASON OPENERS: With the win, Tennessee improves its record in season openers to 19-8-1 and moves the mark to 15-3-1 when opening the season at home.