Soccer team on road vs. Bama tonight

The Tennessee women's soccer team travels to Alabama and hosts Auburn in the penultimate week of the regular season.

The 12th-ranked Lady Vols, who boast an 11-2-2 overall record and a 6-1-1 conference record, head to Tuscaloosa for a Thursday night matchup before returning to Regal Soccer Stadium for Senior Day on Sunday.

UT is coming off its second consecutive 2-0 weekend after topping Ole Miss, 2-0, on Oct. 19 and Mississippi State, 4-0, on Oct. 21 at home.

Junior forward Kylee Rossi increased her team-leading points total to 19 with two goals and two assists last week, earning a spot on the Soccer America National Team of the Week.

The selection is Rossi's second of the season and marks her fifth career appearance on the Team of the Week.

With the productive weekend, Rossi moved into a tie for eighth all-time at Tennessee in goals with 25. Rossi also tied former Lady Vols Lyndsey Patterson and Kim Patrick for seventh in career points with 64. With 62 shots so far in 2007, Rossi is just 13 away from sole possession of second place in career strikes.

Meanwhile, junior keeper Jaimel Johnson moved into sole possession of third in career victories with 17.

The Lady Vols have not allowed a goal during the run of play in the last 396 minutes, allowing only one score during that time, on a penalty kick at Vanderbilt.

With its two victories and Georgia's 0-1-1 weekend, Tennessee earned control of first-place in both the Eastern Division and overall conference standings. The Lady Vols take a two-point lead into the fifth week of SEC play and will take on the Bulldogs in their final regular season match on Nov. 2 in Athens.

Alabama enters the week 9-7-1 overall and 2-5-1 in the SEC. The Crimson Tide is coming off a 5-1 loss to Florida and a 2-0 loss to South Carolina last week. Alabama is looking for its first victory over UT since 1998.

Last week, Auburn fell to Florida, 2-0, and South Carolina, 1-0, suffering its first back-to-back losses of the season. The Tigers are 9-5-1 overall and 5-3-0 in conference play. The Lady Vols are seeking their fourth win in the past five matches with Auburn.

The soccer team gained ground in two more polls this week. The Lady Vols jumped one position to No. 12 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas ranking and climbed three spots to 12th in the SocerTimes.com listing.

UCLA took the top spot, while Texas A&M and Virginia follow in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions, respectively, in both polls. Georgia joins UT as the only schools currently representing the SEC in the rankings.

Kickoff on Thursday night is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. The Orange and White return home for the final regular season match at Regal Soccer Stadium at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Live statistics are available online at UTLadyVols.com.

LADY VOL SOFTBALL: The 2008 version of the softball team kicked off its yearly slate by serving as host to the annual Tennessee Lady Vol Fall Classic over Oct. 20-21 at the new Sherri Parker Lee Softball Stadium.

The Big Orange went 6-0 overall while outscoring their opposition, 57-3, and posting four run-rule victories.

Returning senior pitcher Megan Rhodes picked up three victories from the circle while striking out 13 and 12, respectively, in triumphs over Division I-A opponent, Western Kentucky (6-1), and Chipola College (8-0, 6 innings), the defending National Junior College (NJCAA) Champions.

The Nashville native also entered against Walters State in relief to combine with junior Danielle Pieroni on a 2-0, one-hit shutout and 14 strikeouts. Pieroni bested Milligan, 12-1 (5 innings), by allowing one run and just two hits to go along with seven Ks.

Freshman Ashton Ward debuted as a member of the Orange & White with victories over Vol State (12-0, 5 innings) and Methodist (16-1, 5 innings). In the contest against Vol State, Ward hurled a one-hit shutout with six Ks, while permitting just one run on a single hit with nine punch-outs versus Methodist.

The offense was led by 2007 first-team All-Southeastern Conference senior catcher Shannon Doepking who delivered at a .462 clip (6-of-13) with two home runs and seven RBI.

Junior outfielder and '07 first-team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American Lillian Hammond hit .600 (9-of-15) to join with freshmen Chandra Mogan (7-10, .700, 5 RBI) and Kelly Grieve (6-14, .429) in serving as disruptive factors from the top of the lineup.

Senior first baseman and two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Tonya Callahan delivered a 2-for-3 effort in victories over both Western Kentucky and Walters State, while sophomore utility player Anita Manuma led the way versus Chipola with a 2-for-3, two-run HR effort and over Methodist with a 2-2, two-RBI slate.

Hammond was 3-for-3 against both Vol State and Methodist, while Mogan delivered a 3-for-4 docket with five RBI in the 17-1 run-rule rout of the latter. Doepking homered in the matchup versus Milligan and hit a big bomb in the close triumph over Walters State. Jennifer Lapicki was 4-for-6 at the dish in her first two games in a UT uniform (Milligan and Vol State ).

"This tournament gave both Karen (co-head coach Weekly) and I the valuable opportunity to really evaluate our team outside the constraints of the practice field," Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly said. "I was really pleased with the pitching of Megan Rhodes during the weekend. She threw even better than she has in the past. Freshman Ashton Ward and junior Danielle Pieroni also provided us with some great innings of work from the circle.

"All of our freshmen played exceptionally well with Chandra Mogan, Kelly Grieve and Jennifer Lapicki on base for our squad all weekend. Grieve, Mogan and Kelsey Stander (injured) as well as returnees Lillian Hammond and Kenora Posey will provide us with a lot of options from the left side of the plate with their offensive abilities and overall speed.

"Tonya Callahan and Shannon Doepking performed really well this weekend in the RBI slots in our lineup. Lapicki, Doepking, Callahan, Erinn Webb, Nicole Kajitani and the soon to return from off-season surgery, Tiffany Huff, will give us the potential for solid power throughout the lineup."

Tennessee will officially christen its 2008 regular-season on Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. PT in Cathedral City, Calif., when the Big Orange battles Utah State in the Cathedral City Kickoff at Big League Dreams Sports Park.


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