Lady Vols rise to No. 8 in poll

The nation's pollsters were split on what to do with the Lady Vol soccer team after they downed Stanford but lost to then-No. 3 Santa Clara last weekend at the Stanford Nike Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.

Tennessee ended up rising to No. 8 in both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas and polls while falling to No. 13 according to Soccer Buzz magazine and No. 15 in the Soccer America magazine standings.

The Lady Vols closed out their non-conference schedule with a 4-2-1 record, recording wins over then-No. 6 Virginia and then-No. 29 Stanford and tying then-No. 3 Penn State.

Defense has been the key, as the backline of senior Jenny Jeffers, juniors Erica Griffin and Jordan Falcusan, sophomore Sarah Van Sickle and freshman Sarah Jackyra have combined with sophomore goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson to permit only four goals this season, tallying three shutouts and never allowing more than a single score in a match.

The Big Orange has also gotten offensive contributions from a number of players, led by junior forward Emily Redberg and senior All-American midfielder Ali Christoph. Both have netted two match-winning goals on the season.

The Lady Vols open defense of their 2005 Southeastern Conference championship against defending SEC Western Division champs Mississippi on Friday evening at 7 p.m. CDT at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium.

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