Kylee Rossi again honored by SEC

Following a week that saw her score both game-winners, Tennessee women's soccer player Kylee Rossi has earned two weekly awards for her performance. Rossi was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week and Lady Vol Athlete of the Week after leading the Big Orange to wins over Alabama and Auburn last week.

Rossi has now earned both honors twice this season.

The junior helped Tennessee retain control of first place in the Eastern Division and overall standings with a 2-1 win at Alabama on Oct. 25 and a, 3-0, "Senior Day" victory over Auburn on Oct. 28 at Regal Soccer Stadium.

Rossi finished the week with three goals, pushing her team-leading point and goal totals to 25 and 10, respectively. Rossi has already matched last season's career highs, and is second in the SEC in both categories.

On a cold, wet night at Alabama, Rossi provided the game-winner with just four minutes remaining in regulation. With the match tied 1-1, Rossi received the ball on the far right side of the field. She beat two defenders before taking a shot from 20 yards out that curled into the upper left corner of the goal.

Against Auburn, Rossi extended her point-scoring streak to five matches with her third multipoint performance of the season. The Pennington, N.J., native notched the eventual game-winner in the 39th minute. Freshman midfielder Tanya Emerson won the ball in the midfield and dished it to freshman forward Julie Edwards, who slid a pass through the Auburn defense into the box for Rossi. With Auburn keeper Allison Whitworth coming off her line, Rossi beat Whitworth to her right and found the back left corner of the net.

The forward followed with Tennessee's third goal of the day in the 60th minute. After receiving the ball at the top of the box, Rossi struck again, dribbling in and fighting off two defenders before finding the back of the net on a shot into the upper right corner. The goal was Rossi's team-leading 10th of the season.

With the three goals last week, Rossi moved into sole possession of second in career scores at UT with 28 in less than three full seasons. Rossi is now just one goal shy of tying former Lady Vol Laura Lauter Smith (1997-2000) for first in the record books. The two game-winners also tie the junior for first all-time with Kayla Lockaby (2001-04) with 11.

Tennessee moved up in the latest Soccer America and Soccer Buzz rankings released Monday.

UT jumped from No. 17 to No. 12 in the Soccer America listing, while improving one spot in the Soccer Buzz poll to No. 8. The Lady Vols have the eighth-best winning percentage in NCAA Division I with their 13-2-2 overall record, the best mark in program history going into the last match of the regular season.

Junior goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson allowed just one goal on the weekend, posting her 18th and 19th career victories and her eighth solo shutout of the season in the win over Auburn. Johnson's .875 save percentage in 2007 ranks 17th among NCAA Division I keepers.

With its 12-1-2 overall record, UCLA remained in the top spot in both polls. Florida and Georgia join the Lady Vols as the only SEC schools to crack the top 25, while South Carolina's No. 26 ranking by Soccer Buzz gives the conference four teams in that listing. The No. 8 ranking in Soccer Buzz is Tennessee 's highest in that poll since 2003.

Tennessee closes out the regular season this Friday at Georgia. A win for the Lady Vols would clinch the Eastern Division and overall conference titles as well as the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament which begins Nov. 7. Kickoff at Turner Soccer Complex in Athens, Ga. is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.


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