The 21st-ranked UCSB women’s soccer team made the most of its game against No. 24 Tennessee, with a late goal by sophomore midfielder Jacqui Simon giving the Gauchos the 2-1 win.

Simon’s goal, which broke a 1-1 tie, came off of a picture-perfect through-ball from senior midfielder Sami Svrcek. Svrcek bounced a well-timed pass up the center of the field as Simon broke past the Lady Vols’ defense. Simon collected the ball in stride and powered a shot past goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson, who was charging hard off her line. It was Simon’s third goal of the season and it came at 66:07.

The Gauchos held on over the final 23:53, thanks in part to goalkeeper Tammy Lenham, who finished with a season-high six saves, and some solid keep-away.

UCSB struck first in the match, getting on the board in the first half at 23:23 when sophomore forward Kailyn Kugler fought free from a pair of defenders and found sophomore forward Kylie McDonald on the left wing. McDonald, who took the ball just outside the penalty box on the left side, dribbled into the box and cracked line drive shot over the leaping Johnson, into the upper right portion of the goal.

Tennessee tied the score on a tremendous individual effort by forward Kylee Rossi. Although hounded by a Gauchos defender, the senior forward took the ball at midfield dribbled past the defensive unit, scoring unassisted as she slid a shot past a diving Lenham. The goal came at 37:59 in the first half.

Although the Gauchos were outshot 17-12, they actually had more shots on goal (9-7), than the Lady Vols. Junior forward Gennelle Ives had four shots, all on goal, but did not score.

With the victory, UCSB improves to 5-2 on the season. Tennessee is now 2-5.

UCSB will play Montana on Friday in Honolulu. The Gauchos will remain in the Islands to play Hawaii on Sunday.

Bill Mahoney is UCSB‘s assistant athletics director.