SEC soccer title on the line Friday

The ninth-ranked Tennessee women's soccer team travels to No. 17 Georgia to close out the regular season on Friday. The Lady Vols will be looking to extend their six-match winning streak and to clinch the program's fourth SEC overall crown and fifth Eastern Division title with a victory against the Bulldogs.

With a win, UT would also earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament which begins on Nov. 7 in Orange Beach, Ala.

UT is coming off its third consecutive 2-0 week after topping Alabama, 2-1, on Oct. 25 and Auburn at home, 3-0, on Oct. 28. Junior forward Kylee Rossi posted her second consecutive six-point effort, earning the Lady Vol Athlete of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week awards as well as spots on the Soccer America and Soccer Buzz National Teams of the Week.

Tennessee enters the match with a two-point lead over the Bulldogs in the SEC standings, and a four-point lead over Florida, which plays two matches this week. UT brings a 13-2-2 overall record and an 8-1-1 mark in conference play into this Friday's match.

The Lady Vols are riding a seven-match unbeaten streak, outscoring their opponents 16-3 during that span. This week also marks the first time UT has entered the final match of the season with just two losses.

Georgia is coming off a week that saw it earn two come-from-behind victories over Auburn and Alabama. The Bulldogs are 14-2-2 overall and 7-1-2 in the SEC. Georgia will be looking for its first win over UT since 2001.

Rossi has helped UT remain in 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 victory over Auburn on Oct. 28 at Regal Soccer Stadium. The junior finished the week with three goals, increasing 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.

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. The forward 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.

The Soccer America selection is Rossi's third of the season and marks her second consecutive week on the team. She has now been named to the Soccer America Team of the Week six times in her career. The Soccer Buzz honors are Rossi's second of the season.

Georgia comes into Friday's match with an 8-1-1 record at home this season, and is coming off its 150th win in program history on Sunday over Alabama.

The Bulldogs have had nine different players score game-winners this season and are led by a trio of underclassmen up top.

Sophomore forward Carrie Patterson has staked her claim for the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, leading the team with nine goals and five assists. Patterson is third in the conference in both goals and points. Freshman midfielder Caroline Simpson and freshman forward Marah Falle are second and third in points with 14 and 13, respectively. The three have combined for 20 of the Bulldogs' 32 goals this season, helping the squad to the fourth-most goals in the SEC.

Sophomore goalkeeper Michelle Betos is third in the conference with her 0.71 goals against average this season. Betos has posted six solo shutouts while posting a .833 save percentage during the 2007 campaign. The Flushing, N.Y., native has been instrumental in helping the Bulldogs tie their program record for wins in a season with 14.

The Lady Vols will be looking for their eighth consecutive win over Georgia. The last time the two teams met, UT took a 3-1 win in Knoxville on Oct. 27, 2006. Tennessee is 9-4-0 in the all-time series, with its last loss coming on Nov. 2, 2001, in Athens.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Turner Soccer Complex. Live statistics will be available at GeorgiaDogs.com

ACADEMIC HONORS: The soccer team landed two players on the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV Third Team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America on Thursday.

Junior goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson and senior forward Emily Redberg both earned a spot on the team, which honored 35 student-athletes in District IV for their excellence on the field and in the classroom.

Redberg is currently second on the squad in goals with seven. The Brooklyn Park, Minn., native's 67 career points tie her for fifth all-time in the Tennessee record books. In her four years, the forward has notched eight game-winners and helped lead UT to three straight NCAA Tournament berths.

In the classroom, Redberg finished her undergraduate career with a 3.26 cumulative grade point average and received her bachelor of science in marketing in May 2007. Redberg is currently in her first semester of graduate school at Tennessee and is pursuing a master's degree in sport management.

Johnson has posted eight solo shutouts this season for the Orange and White, compiling a record of 13-2-2 overall. With her blanking of then-No. 17 Southern California on Sept.16, Johnson passed former Lady Vol Sarah Shivley for sole possession of third all-time with 13 career shutouts. The Dayton, Ohio, native also moved into third place on the career victories chart with her 16th, a 2-0 win over Ole Miss on Oct. 19. Johnson now has 19 career wins at Tennessee.

Off the field, Johnson is majoring in sport management at UT. The keeper boasts a 3.23 cumulative grade point average in her first two years in the Orange and White.

The selection to the third team is Redberg's second consecutive recognition, while the honor is Johnson's first. Seven current and former Tennessee players have earned Academic All-District IV honors, with 11 total selections all-time.

LADY VOL VOLLEYBALL: The volleyball team (9-13, 4-10) will hit the road this weekend as it scheduled to take on SEC Western Division-foes Ole Miss and LSU.

The Lady Vols will first travel to Oxford, Miss., for a 7 p.m. CT contest on Friday against the Rebels at the Gillom Sports Complex before making the trip to Baton Rouge, La., for a 1:30 p.m. showdown two days later at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center with the Tigers.

The Big Orange will be looking for a more consistent effort after splitting a pair of matches last weekend, in which it was able to stop a four-match slide with an impressive sweep of Georgia on Friday night, 30-24, 30-25, 30-27, but fell in four games to Auburn on Sunday afternoon, 22-30, 30-24, 30-25, 31-29.

In its victory over the Bulldogs, the Orange and White was led by a dominating defensive performance put up by sophomore libero Chloe Goldman. With 31 digs, the Monterey, Calif., native registered a new school record for a three-game match. That total also stands as the most by a Southeastern Conference player in three games this season.

Sophomore Jena Berg and senior Yuliya Stoyanova also posted the 14th and 23rd double-doubles of their respective careers in the win. Two days later against the Tigers, it was sophomore Leah Hinkey's turn to notch a double-double, posting team highs in both kills (13) and blocks (10), in addition to a squad-best .333 hitting percentage (13-4-33).

With just seven matches remaining in the regular-season portion of the 2007-08 campaign, freshman Nikki Fowler leads the team in four major statistical categories, including kills (247), attacks (741), kills per game (2.91) and points (313.5). Sophomore Leah Hinkey has also put up solid numbers, ranking just behind Fowler in all four of those categories with 238 kills, 548 attacks, 2.80 kills per game and 309.5 points. She also leads the squad with a .286 hitting percentage.

Defensively, sophomore Chloe Goldman has been the Lady Vols' top performer with 449 total digs and a 5.28 digs per game average which ranks fourth in the SEC. The Monterey, Calif., native needs just 58 more digs to overtake Amy Morris' single-season UT digs record of 506 set in 2005.

Tennessee will put its perfect 13-0 all-time record in Oxford on the line. Although the Rebels came away with a five-game win over UT on Oct. 14, the Lady Vols have dominated the all-time series to the tune of 31-5. All five losses, however, have come in Knoxville.

This season, Ole Miss has already reached the 20-win mark (20-6), doing so for the first time since the 1989 campaign. With a 9-5 conference record, the Rebels currently stand in a tie with LSU for second in the SEC Western Division.

Senior Katie Kramer has done most of the heavy lifting on offense this season, but Ole Miss will also look to sophomore Caitlin Weiss and junior Emily Jones for significant contributions. With 352 kills and a 3.67 kills per average, Kramer ranks seventh among all league participants. Weiss and Jones, meanwhile, have amassed kill totals of 287 and 213, respectively.

Defensively, senior libero Tara Langley has put up solid numbers with 5.09 digs per game, good enough for fifth in the conference, while Jones and senior Lauren Moffatt battle for the team lead in blocks with totals of 85 and 81.

The best all-around player on the team, however, may be junior setter Rachel Kieckhaefer who averages 1.45 kills per game, 11.38 assists per game and 3.24 digs per game. She is also second on the team with a .282 hitting percentage.

The Orange and White will be looking to avenge a heart-breaking, five-game loss to Ole Miss sustained earlier this season. In spite of the defeat, sophomore Farren Powe, freshman Nikki Fowler and sophomore Jena Berg recorded the first, sixth and 12th double-doubles of their careers, respectively. Powe pounded out 10 kills to go along with a career-high 10 blocks, while Fowler notch 14 putaways and 10 digs. Berg, meanwhile, amassed 48 assists, in addition to 11 digs during the contest.

In a regionally televised match, Tennessee will take on LSU at 1:30 p.m. CT on Sunday. The Tigers enter the weekend with an 18-6, 9-5 SEC record, and will take on Kentucky two days prior to the Lady Vols' arrival.

Although UT picked up an impressive five-game victory over the then-No. 18 Tigers, it still trails the all-time series 27-16. The triumph snapped a string of three straight LSU wins over Tennessee.

In the top half of virtually every statistical category in the SEC, LSU has been especially impressive defensively, holding opponents to a .148 hitting percentage (second in the league), blocking 2.94 attacks per game (third) and digging up 17.03 balls per frame (fifth).

Individually, the Tiger offense is paced by sophomore setter Maggie Lonergan who averages 12.15 assists per game. Her primary target this season has been junior Kyna Washington who ranks fourth in the conference with 4.11 kills per frame. Washington is also second in the league with 0.54 aces per game.

On defense, junior libero Elena Martinez and sophomore Lauren DeGirolamo lead the way. With 520 total digs and 5.47 digs per game, Martinez sits atop the SEC leaderboard, while DeGirolamo stands in sixth with 1.32 blocks per game.

The Lady Vols will go for the season sweep of LSU after winning a thrilling, five-game contest over the Tigers on Oct. 12.

Sophomore libero Chloe Goldman led the team to victory that day, registering the second most digs in a single-match in UT history with 37.

Three Lady Vols also posted double-doubles in the contest, as Fowler recorded a team-high 20 kills on a personal-best 51 swings, in addition to racking up 12 digs, sophomore setter Jena Berg paced the Big Orange attack with a career-high 61 assists, while digging up 14 LSU attacks and sophomore Kylie Marshall rounded out the squad's effort by tying her personal-best with 11 kills and finishing second on the team with 15 digs.

LADY VOL BASKETBALL: The Southeastern Conference unveiled its fourth annual women's basketball preseason All-SEC first and second teams, Thursday. The coaches voted on a predicted order of finish, overall champion and a preseason Player of the Year.

Tennessee was predicted to win its 15th SEC women's basketball championship. The Lady Vols are coming off their seventh NCAA title and a perfect 14-0 SEC record. They earned nine first-place votes, topping LSU which earned three votes as SEC Champion.

Tennessee returns four starters from last year's championship team, including Nicky Anosike, Shannon Bobbitt, Alexis Hornbuckle and Candace Parker.

Tennessee tops the order of finish with 119 points, with LSU (112), Georgia (102), Vanderbilt (81), Auburn (77) and Kentucky (73) rounding out the top half of the league.

Mississippi State comes in at seven with 64 votes, while Arkansas (43), Ole Miss (41), South Carolina (37), Florida (28) and Alabama (11) round out the bottom half of the conference.

Parker was the overwhelming choice for SEC Women's Basketball Player of the Year with eight votes, followed by LSU's Sylvia Fowles with three votes and Georgia's Tasha Humphrey with one vote. Joining Parker, Humphrey and Fowles on the All-SEC First Team were Arkansas' Lauren Ervin, Auburn's DeWanna Bonner, LSU's Erica White, Tennessee's Anosike and Hornbuckle, and Vanderbilt's Christina Wirth.

Second team consists of Florida's Sha Brooks and Marshae Dotson, Georgia's Ashley Houts, Kentucky's Sarah Elliott and Samantha Mahoney, LSU's Quianna Chaney, Mississippi State's Imesia Jackson, Tennessee's Bobbitt and Vanderbilt's Liz Sherwood.

Auburn's Whitney Boddie and Sherell Hobbs, Florida's Depree Bowden, Georgia's Megan Darrah, Kentucky's Carly Ormerod, Mississippi State's Alexis Rack and Marneshia Richards, Ole Miss' Alliesha Easley, and South Carolina's Demetress Adams and Lakesha Tolliver also received votes.

Points were compiled on an 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for order of prediction, while each player received two points for a first-team vote and one point for a second-team vote. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players.


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