Soccer, volleyball, cross country win

The Lady Vol soccer team, led by Mick Imgram, and the volleyball team, led by Milan Clarke, both won their home openers, and the cross country squad, led by Sarah Bowman, ran to victory in Nashville.

The Tennessee women's soccer team kicked off its regular season with a bang, topping No. 7 Penn State 2-1 on opening day of the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic at Regal Soccer Stadium.

Sophomore midfielder Mick Imgram factored into both goals for the Lady Vols, finishing the night with three points. The Clifton, Va. native scored the eventual game winner for Tennessee and notched an assist on the Orange and White's first goal of the night.

"Penn State's such a talented team, they have pace and they are very well organized," UT Head Coach Angela Kelly said. "I think both teams this evening brought a great mentality and if you have that and you have heart, sometimes that can be an equalizer when the talent isn't the same."

The first half saw several chances for both teams, including a near miss off the crossbar from Lady Vol junior goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson from past midfield in the opening minutes. UT peppered the Penn State net with 12 shots in the first half, forcing Nittany Lions keeper Alyssa Naeher to make two saves.

PSU opened the scoring 41 minutes into the first half when freshman forward Megan Monroig took a shot from the right corner which curled into and out of Johnson's hands as she back pedaled towards the goal. Despite Johnson's best efforts, the ball crossed the goal line, giving the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead.

Tennessee came out of the locker room with a new found shooting accuracy. After hitting the face just twice on 12 shots in the first 45 minutes, the Lady Vols turned up the heat on Naeher, putting seven of their nine shots on frame in the second half. Naeher was forced to make five saves in the final frame.

After failing to score on several set pieces early in the second frame, Imgram received a ball in the corner and crossed it on the ground towards the oncoming UT attackers. After a nifty step over from senior defender Erica Griffin at the top of the box, freshman midfielder Tanya Emerson finished the pass with a shot into the upper right corner of the goal, tying the match at one.

The Lady Vols continued to pester the Penn State defenders after knotting the score. Over the next 11 minutes, Tennessee junior forward Kylee Rossi, redshirt freshman forward Devon Swaim and senior defender Jordan Falcusan posted a flurry of shots from close range, hitting the crossbar once and forcing Naeher to make two saves.

Then, after a Penn State foul, the hard work paid off when Imgram blasted a rocket past Naeher off of the free kick from 35 yards out, causing an eruption of noise from the 1,355 in attendance, shaking the brand new seats at Regal Stadium.

"I think it was an exciting game to watch," Kelly said. "There was lot of action on both ends. It was just a tough, tough battle."

The Nittany Lions continued to pressure the UT defense, but Johnson and the backline held strong. PSU forced Johnson to make two saves in both halves, including two on shots off the foot of junior midfielder Sheree Gray, who tied for the team lead with three shots.

Tennessee finished the game with a 21-11 advantage in shots, putting nine of those on frame for the match. Naeher made seven total saves on the night, while the Nittany Lions managed five shots on goal.

The Orange and White join UCF as winners on the first day of the Lady Vol Classic, after the Knights posted a 2-1 victory over Minnesota in Friday's early match.

The tournament continues this Sunday at Regal Soccer Stadium with UCF and Penn State at 10:30 a.m. and the Lady Vols hosting the Golden Gophers at 1 p.m. to wrap up the eighth edition of the classic.

Live stats, recaps and box scores for every match of the Lady Vol Classic are available online at

VOLLEYBALL: The volleyball team (2-1) opened the Comcast Lady Vol Classic in style, completely dominating Appalachian State (1-4) Friday night at Stokely Athletics Center, 30-17, 30-18, 30-14. The Orange and White outhit the Mountaineers .329 to -.022 and finished ahead of them in every statistical category except total attacks in the victory.

"I am extremely proud of the way our team stayed focused and took this match one point at a time," UT head coach Rob Patrick said. "We played like it was 28-all the entire match, which can be tough for a young team to do. Our players showed a lot of maturity tonight. This match also provided us with an opportunity to get some of our younger players valuable match experience, which will only better our chances of success in the future."

Junior Milan Clarke continued her string of strong perfomances to open the season and sophomore Kylie Marshall finished just two off the school's single-match aces record with a career-best nine. Clarke tallied a match-best 11 kills and 17 attacks in addition to hitting at a .529 clip.

The Santa Monica, Calif., native was outdone in the hitting percentage category by a pair of teammates, as fellow classmate Mindy Flynn finished with a .667 mark, with six kills and no errors in nine swings, and Marshall posted a .556 average (5-0-9).

Defensively, sophomore Chloe Goldman paced the team with 14 digs, while Flynn tallied a squad-high five blocks. Freshman Nikki Fowler also added four putbacks to the Big Orange effort. As a team, Tennessee finished with 16 service aces on the night, just five off the program record of 21 set against Northwestern on Dec. 4, 1982.

The Lady Vols jumped ahead early in the first game and never looked back. After a Flynn kill moved the score to 13-11 in favor of UT, Marshall approached the service line for what would be the beginning of a memorable run. She proceeded to lead the Orange and White to nine straight points, posting five aces in the process.

In all, she served 10 consecutive plays and gave Tennessee an impressive 23-12 advantage. The Mountaineers were unable to overcome the offensive onslaught, ultimately losing the first set 30-17.

"Kylie has a tremendous jump serve and she was able to show it off tonight," Patrick said. "She was very successful in taking Appalachian State out of its offense and gave us some easy points."

The second game was more of the same as UT cruised to a 30-18 win. With Appalachian State holding its lone lead of the match at 5-4, the Lady Vols used consecutive Mountaineer hitting errors and back-to-back aces by sophomore Leah Hinkey to regain the advantage for good. From that point on in the set, the Orange and White won 22 of the final 36 points. Clarke led the attack with four kills on five swings, while Goldman held the ASU offense at bay with five digs in the frame.

In the third and final game, Tennessee continued its domination, hitting .500 (15-2-26) and winning 30-14. The outcome was never in question, as the Big Orange opened by claiming eight of the first nine points of the frame, capped off by two more aces from Marshall. Once again it was Clarke showcasing her offensive abilities, putting together a perfect frame with four kills on four swings. Sophomore Farren Powe also accomplished the feat, with two kills on a pair of attacks.

The Orange and White will return to the court Saturday morning at 10 a.m. when it takes on Belmont. UT will also close out the Comcast Lady Vol Classic with a 7 p.m. contest against Indiana on Saturday.

CROSS COUNTRY: Tennessee junior Sarah Bowman claimed an individual victory at the Belmont Opener for the second time in three seasons and helped the Lady Volunteer cross country team begin its 2007 season with a team title Friday evening at Percy Warner Park.

The Big Orange, who boasted three of the top five finishers, tallied 53 points to hold off runner-up Vanderbilt (58). Belmont and last year's victor, UAB, tied for third with 75 points, followed by Alabama (117), Murray State (146), Middle Tennessee State (175), Lipscomb (195), Eastern Illinois (226), Mercer (265), UT-Martin (346), Alabama State (375), Asbury (400), Christian Brothers (450), Bethel (468) and Crichton (487).

The Lady Vols claimed their first victory at the meet after finishing second the past two years, including a one-point loss to UAB in 2006. UT, picked to finish second in the SEC, now has opened the season with wins three times (2002, 2004, 2007) in the past six seasons and has posted 17 meet titles in 36 events during Coach J.J. Clark's tenure.

Running on the Vaughn's Creek Course in 87-degree heat, Bowman covered the 4,000-meter distance in 14 minutes, 00.58 seconds to post her first meet triumph since opening her collegiate career with back-to-back wins at the Belmont Opener and Tennessee Invitational two seasons ago. The two-time All-SEC performer, who now has led her team to the finish line five times in her career, clocked in with a readout of 14:09.82 in 2005.

On Friday, Bowman's improved readout allowed her to comfortably hold off UAB's Elizabeth Ambrus, who grabbed runner-up honors for the second straight season in 14:10.88.

Junior Katie Van Horn and sophomore Jackie Areson joined Bowman in the UT top five this evening, grabbing third and fifth places, respectively, in 14:24.32 and 14:33.73. Areson was 12th at this meet a year ago, while Van Horn was 29th. Bowman did not travel to Nashville last season to defend her title.

Rounding out the scoring five for Team Orange on Friday were freshman Brittany Sheffey and sophomore Phoebe Wright. Sheffey made her Lady Vol debut by placing 16th in 15:07.33, while Wright made UT's top five for the first time in placing 28th at 15:31.71. Wright came in 44th last season.

Also running today, but not scoring, were juniors Rolanda Bell and Kimarra McDonald. Bell placed 39th in 16:03.24, while McDonald reported in 63rd at 16:56.14.

"I thought for this early in the season, and for the amount of work we've done, the team ran well," Clark said. "I have to congratulate Sarah Bowman for her win. That's a nice way to start a season.

"It was a good race for both Katie and Jackie as well. My hat is also off to Brittany Sheffey, who scored in her first collegiate meet, and Phoebe Wright, who came through big for us and scored for the initial time in her career."

The Lady Vols will spend the next two weeks training before resuming competition on Sept. 14.

On that Friday, they will join the UT men in playing host to the Tennessee Invitational at Lambert Acres Golf Club in Maryville, Tenn. Race times are 5:30 p.m. ET for the 5,000-meter women's race and 6:15 p.m. for the men's 8,400-meter affair. Admission is free.

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