'Senior Night' for soccer team

The final regular-season weekend of the women's soccer season has arrived, and the Lady Vols, ranked 21st in the country, close out the slate against Georgia on Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Regal Soccer Stadium.

Senior night activities for the Big Orange will take place prior to the game, which has significant ramifications on seeding at the 2006 Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament, which starts on Wednesday, Nov. 1, in Orange Beach, Ala.

Tennessee comes into the weekend with a 9-5-3 overall record and a 5-3-1 showing in SEC play. If the tournament started today, the Lady Vols would be the fourth seed and play Georgia, but that almost certainly will change this weekend.

A win could move UT all the way to second while at least keeping it in fourth, while a loss could drop it to as low as eighth. Georgia is playing to secure a spot in the championship, and the only sure way for the Bulldogs to do that is to defeat Tennessee on Friday night.

The Orange and White have been led all year by a senior class that has seen three of the four members start every contest in 2006. Senior co-captain Jenny Jeffers (Lake Zurich, Ill.) has played every minute on the backline, one of two Lady Vols to accomplish that feat, while co-captain Ali Christoph (Columbus, Ohio) and Kristen Doukakis (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) have led the way in assists, dishing out five and four, respectively. Defender Melissa Amado (Surrey, British Columbia ) returned to the starting lineup against Auburn for the first time this season after missing most of the year with a knee injury.

The seniors have given way to the underclassmen for the goal scoring, however, as sophomore Kylee Rossi leads the team in goals for the second consecutive campaign. Six of her seven tallies have come during SEC play, which ranks her third in the league in scoring.

Georgia comes to Rocky Top with a 10-7 record and a 5-5 mark in league action. The most prolific scoring team in the SEC this season, the Bulldogs have scored 19 goals since turning their attention to conference foes. For the second straight year, one of head coach Patrick Baker's pupils leads the league in points. This year, freshman Carrie Patterson tops the pack, tallying 17 points on seven goals and three assists.

Tennessee has faced the Eastern Division Bulldogs on 12 previous occasions and currently holds a six-match winning streak in the series, dating back to 2002. All five matches in Knoxville have tilted toward the Big Orange, including a 2-0 win in 2004.

Gametracker live stats for Friday's contest will be provided on utladyvols.com.


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