Kentucky enters Friday's showdown with a 12-6-3 record. The Big Blue ride a five-match unbeaten streak into the meeting, including taking two wins in the final weekend of conference play to vault into the second slot in the tournament draw. The Wildcats rode that momentum to a 3-2 victory over Mississippi in the first match of the tourney.
The Wildcats' move into the top half of the league helped head coach Warren Lipka capture the SEC Coach of the Year award, the same one taken home by Tennessee's Angela Kelly the three previous years.
Kentucky also boasts of first-team All-SEC and second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV goalkeeper Anne Ogundele, who topped all league netminders with 13 shutouts on the year. Second-team All-SEC forward Giuleana Lopez tied for third in conference action with her six goals, including the only score in the 1-0 win in Knoxville three weeks ago.
The Big Orange saw senior midfielder Kristen Doukakis become the first Lady Vol to tally five points in a match since Rhian Wilkinson did the same on Oct. 26, 2003, against Kentucky in a 4-1 UT win.
Doukakis combined with SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kylee Rossi to become the first Orange-clad players to both score two goals in a match since Wilkinson and current assistant coach Jen Laughridge Grubb did the same against Arkansas State in the 2002 home opener.
Tennessee holds an 8-6 mark in the all-time meetings against Kentucky. Before UK's win on Oct. 13, the Lady Vols had taken six straight meetings between the teams. The programs have met twice before in the SEC Tournament, splitting the contests.
Live statistics will be broadcast on both utladyvols.com and sec sports .com
ACADEMIC HONORS: Three Lady Vol soccer players earned spots on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV teams, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Thursday.
Senior midfielder Ali Christoph, who was picked as the SEC Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Tuesday, garnered a spot on the first team, which moves her onto the national ballot. Senior defender Jenny Jeffers picked up second-team accolades, while junior forward Emily Redberg was selected to the third team.
Christoph leads Tennessee with six assists on the year while also ranking second on the squad in points with 16. The 2005 first-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas All-American now stands second all-time at UT in assists (27) and shots (220), tied for second in game-winning goals (10), fifth in points (65) and ninth in goals (19). The senior co-captain has maintained a 3.74 grade point average (GPA) in education while starting in a program record-tying 89 games.
Jeffers has drawn 66 consecutive starts on the Big Orange backline, helping lead a defensive unit that has ranked among the country's best over the past three seasons. A 2005 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV third-team selection, the team's other senior co-captain has tallied two assists this season and five in her career. Jeffers is one start from tying Lisa Tipton and Jen Laughridge for 10th on the career list. Jeffers carries a 3.58 GPA in psychology.
Redberg is currently tied for second on the team with six goals and ranks fourth on the squad with 14 points. She stands 10th in goals (18) along with Tara Minnax and 14th in UT history with 46 career points. Her seven match-clinchers ties her for sixth all-time in the category. The redshirt junior has drawn 28 straight starts up top for Tennessee and holds a 3.27 GPA in marketing.
Michigan led all teams with five student-athletes on the squad. Kentucky garnered four selections, while Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Central Michigan all picked up three certificates. The three UT selections match a program record set last year when Christoph and Jeffers were joined by 2004 second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American Vanessa Phillips-Bosshart.