Auburn Advances to Title Match with 2-0 Win
Nov. 4, 2011
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - Senior Julie King did it all for Auburn on Friday night and goalkeeper Amy Howard notched another shutout as the Tigers advanced to the SEC Championship game with a 2-0 win over Tennessee.
"What an effort by our team," Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa said. "Tennessee is a great team. They are one of the best teams in the country with one of the best offenses in the country. Our team just stepped up. I don't think it's one of the prettiest games we have played, but we did what we had to do to win the game. It was just a tremendous effort against a solid team. You have to love it when we find a way to win."
A four-year starter on defense, King, who had been pressed into duty at forward due to injury, made her second-straight start up top and tallied a goal and an assist to push her squad to just its third SEC Championship game (2001, 2005).
"What a huge performance from Julie King, who has made the transition from playing in the back to now playing up top," Hoppa said. "She has made three starts at forward now for us this year and been a critical part of what we were able to do in all three games. What an incredible performance by her. Add to that the fact that she got back and helped on defense a ton. What a fantastic effort."
Auburn (13-6-2) put the first point on the board in a back-and-forth first half when Howard made a save that resulted in a quick break for the Tigers. King found a streaking Tori Ball in the box and the redshirt freshman from nearby Mobile converted the chance.
The goal was Ball's third of the season and it gave Auburn the 1-0 lead with 12:53 left in the opening half. King was credited with her fifth assist of the year and 10th of her career.
Howard once again was outstanding in goal. The junior recorded four saves and weathered 21 shots by the Lady Vols en route to her second-straight shutout (fifth of season, 15th career).
In the waning minutes, Auburn iced the game with a second goal off a set piece. The Tigers used a corner kick by Mary Coffed that was headed by Ana Cate to Ball, who then headed again to King inside the 6-yard box as the senior finished off her sixth goal of 2011.
"Playing defense has helped me become a better attacker because I know what I don't like to play against," King said. "The coaches have done a great job converting me to defender at the beginning and now back to forward. Whatever I can do to help the team win, I'm 100 percent for it. I'm happy that we've gotten the two wins and excited to play on Sunday."
Auburn is only the second no. 7 seed in league tournament history to advance to the final, joining Georgia in 2000.
The Tigers now advance to face the winner of the other semifinal matchup between Alabama and Florida. The championship match is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday and will be televised by ESPNU.
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