Regal Soccer Stadium debuts Saturday

The 2007 University of Tennessee soccer season is set to start this Saturday with an exhibition match against Carson-Newman College at Regal Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and admission is free to all fans.

The No. 24-ranked Lady Vols look to set the tone for the regular season in the first of two exhibition matches this season.

Head Coach Angela Kelly returns 12 letterwinners, including eight starters from 2006. Among the returnees are junior forward Kylee Rossi, the 2006 Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and junior goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson who started 15 matches and recorded a 1.05 goals against average for UT last season.

The exhibition will mark the Orange and White debut for nine true freshmen and one junior transfer in midfielder Alissa VonderHaar. The newcomers will be looking to help fill the void left after the departure of seniors Melissa Amado, Kristen Doukakis, Jenny Jeffers and two-time All-American Ali Christoph last year.

Tennessee finished last season with a 12-7-4 overall record after reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 for the fourth time in five years. The Lady Vols will be looking to return to the top of the SEC standings in 2007 after tying for second place in the Eastern Division in 2006, and missing the SEC Tournament final for the first time since 2001.

Carson-Newman enters the matchup ranked ninth in the NSCAA/adidas Division II preseason poll. The Eagles were picked to win their fourth South Atlantic Conference (SAC) title in five years by the SAC coaches earlier this week. Carson-Newman placed six players on the preseason All-Conference squad, including midfielders Brittany Moore and Zarmena Kasparites and defender Julie Nelson, who were all named to the first team.

The Eagles are looking to find a new leader in 2007 after losing two-time SAC Female Athlete of the Year Rebecca Angus to graduation. Head Coach Phil McNamara features four international players on his squad this season, including senior defender Julie Nelson who was named captain of the Northern Ireland Senior National team in April.

The Lady Vols, along with the UT Women's Athletics Department, will hold a ceremony prior to the match to introduce Regal Soccer Stadium, the new home of Lady Vol soccer. The renovated stadium features a new grandstand, enclosed press box and hospitality suite, built-in concessions stands and brand new team facilities.

The dedication ceremony begins at 5:45 p.m., with a ceremonial "first kick" scheduled for 6:45 p.m.

Tennessee earned a spot in both the Soccer Buzz and NSCAA/adidas preseason rankings. The Lady Vols checked in at No. 24 on both polls.

The Lady Vols are joined in the polls by fellow SEC member Florida, which garnered a No. 13 ranking from the NSCAA/adidas and a No. 7 ranking from Soccer Buzz.

The Orange and White are set to face off against three teams ranked in the NSCAA/adidas poll in No. 13 Florida, No. 22 Wake Forest and No. 25 Southern California.

The Lady Vols will take on the Demon Deacons at Virginia Tech on Sept. 9 and travel to Los Angeles on Sept. 16 to meet the Women of Troy. This year's SEC matchup with the Gators will be televised live on Cox Sports from Regal Stadium on Sept. 30.

Tennessee's 2007 schedule also features three teams from the Soccer Buzz rankings in No. 7 Florida, No. 12 Penn State and No. 14 Southern California. UT hosts the Nittany Lions in its first match of the season on Aug. 31 as part of the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic at Regal Stadium.

Defending national champion North Carolina is ranked No. 1 in both polls, while national runner-up Notre Dame garnered a No. 2 ranking in the NSCAA/adidas poll a No. 3 spot in the Soccer Buzz ranking.

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