UT hosts LSU, Arkansas today, Sunday

After a six-match road string that saw the Lady Vols travel over 7,000 miles by airplane and bus, the 14th-ranked Tennessee soccer team returns to the Regal Soccer Stadium for a 7 p.m. match against LSU, dubbed the Match of the Week by the Southeastern Conference, before facing Arkansas on Sunday at a special start time of 12:30 p.m. EDT.

The Lady Vols enter the weekend after picking up their first win in the SEC over No. 12 Florida, a 2-1 triumph, last weekend in Gainesville. UT holds a 5-3-3 overall record and a 1-1-2 mark in the league.

The Lady Vol defense was up to the task last weekend, shutting out South Carolina for 110 minutes in the scoreless draw in Columbia, S.C., before yielding a late goal to the Gators in the win. Sophomore goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson made a career-high eight saves against Florida.

LSU enters Friday's match with a 7-4-2 record and atop the SEC Western Division with a 2-0-2 mark. The Tigers' Michelle Makasini leads the SEC with her 10 goals this season and ranks 17th in the nation with her 2.57 points per game average. The Purple and Gold defense has tallied five shutouts on the year and has been boosted by former Lady Vol Casey Crawford, who has started all 13 matches for the Tigers this season.

The Lady'Backs have an 8-3 mark on the season and rank fourth in the SEC West with a 1-2 record. Christina Burger tops Arkansas' scoring attack, notching seven goals and 17 points on the season. Abbey Wilburn leads Arkansas with five assists, while Kim Schleif has tallied three goals. Senior netminder Carrie Dillsaver has five shutouts on the year, coming into this weekend's action with a 0.89 goals against average.

Tennessee holds an 8-0 lead in the all-time series against LSU, including taking a pair of 2-0 victories over the Tigers in 2005. The Lady Vols have had similar success against Arkansas , taking the last six meetings by a combined score of 20-4. The Lady'Backs did get the first win in the series, a 1-0 win in Knoxville on Sept. 15, 1996.

Both matches this weekend will have Gametracker live stats posted on utladyvols.com.

In other soccer news, for the third time in her career, Tennessee sophomore forward Kylee Rossi was picked for the Soccer America Team of the Week after leading the Lady Vols with both goals in the 2-1 win over No. 12 Florida last weekend in Gainesville. The award is Rossi's third of the week after receiving SEC Offensive Player and Lady Vol Athlete of the Week honors on Monday.

Rossi, a native of Pennington, N.J., netted the first two-goal match of her career against the Gators, getting both tallies in the first half at James G. Pressly Stadium on Sunday afternoon. She first beat the Florida defense before tucking the ball into the net from inside the six-yard box for her first goal. Rossi continued her assault, taking a pass from junior Jordan Falcusan and putting the ball into the net in the 39th minute.

Her three scores in SEC play lead the club and tie her for the conference lead in goals and points in league outings. Rossi was previously honored by Soccer America on its weekly list on Sept. 12 and Oct. 3 and was also chosen by the publication as part of its All-Freshman second team in 2005.


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