Lady Vols named America's Team in basketball

MINNEAPOLIS - the America's Team™ Foundation announced that it has chosen the Lady Vols to receive the 2007 America's Team Award for women's college basketball.

Based on integrity, teamwork, sportsmanship and commitment to the community, the award honors American sports teams and their athletes in the achievement of overall excellence.

"The America's Team™ Award celebrates athletic excellence as well as recognizes team dedication to community development. This year we are honored to give the America's Team Award for women's college ball to the Lady Vols," said Bryan Reichel, America's Team Foundation president.

"This team gives of themselves on and off the court – from organizing basketball clinics to hosting kids movie nights. The team's commitment to improving the lives of children and their families in Tennessee is appreciated and admired by many alumni, students and fans."

Before the exhibition game against Carson-Newman on Tuesday evening, the award was presented at center court to the team and coaching staff of the Lady Vols basketball squad by Bryan Reichel, president of the America's Team organization.

Other America's Team Award trophy recipients include: Minnesota Twins (professional baseball), Pittsburgh Steelers (professional football), and Florida Gators (men's college basketball).

Tennessee compiled a 34-3 overall record during the 2006-07 season and brought home the program's seventh NCAA Championship. Coach Pat Summitt earned SEC Coach of the Year and National Coach of the Year Honors.

Candace Parker earned SEC Player of the Year, John R. Wooden Player of the Year, State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year, ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America honors and first team All-American by almost every publication in the country.

Nicky Anosike and Sidney Spencer garnered Academic All-District recognition, while Alexis Hornbuckle and Spencer picked up All-SEC accolades. The team won two ESPY Awards and placed six of its 10 members on the SEC All-Academic squad.

America's Team™ is an organization that celebrates the role of goodwill in athletics and offers recognition for the honest effort put forth by athletes, both on and off the field. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, America's Team Properties LLP honors excellence and commitment in American sports through awards, promotions and community giving.

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LADY VOL SOCCER: The Tennessee women's soccer team saw its Southeastern Conference Tournament bid end early Wednesday evening, falling to sixth-seeded South Carolina, 2-0, in the first round at Orange Beach, Ala. The loss is the Lady Vols' first in the opening round of the tournament since 2001.

"First, congratulations to South Carolina ," UT Head Coach Angela Kelly. "They scored two great goals. They played very well and gave a great effort."

The Gamecocks got on the board with the eventual game-winner just nine minutes into the first half. After receiving a pass into the box from sophomore midfielder Shannon Bigbie, senior forward Darcel Mollon beat Tennessee junior keeper Jaimel Johnson one-on-one from eight yards.

In the first half, both teams had several scoring opportunities. Within five minutes after the goal, South Carolina had two excellent chances including a shot from senior midfielder Ashley Kirk that forced a diving save from Johnson. The Lady Vols posted five shots, putting two on goal in the first half.

The Gamecocks notched their second goal in the 78th minute on a free kick deep in Tennessee's defensive end. Junior defender Brittiny Rhoades took the kick for South Carolina, putting it into the box, where junior midfielder Mary Worthen got a head on it, putting it away for the 2-0 lead.

The second half saw UT gain several scoring chances, but the Lady Vols could not seem to find the back of the net. Nine minutes into the second frame, freshman midfielder Tanya Emerson forced Armstrong to make a diving save. Junior forward Kylee Rossi also had a great opportunity in the box in the 69th minute, but sent her shot straight at Armstrong.

"We could have executed more efficiently," Kelly said. "We did a better job at possessing the ball but we could have been more aggressive in the final third."

Tennessee's best chance of the half came in the 58th minute, when freshman forward Devon Swaim found herself in a one-on-one with Armstrong, but the South Carolina keeper made the diving save to keep the shutout intact.

UT finished the match with 11 total shots, five of which were on frame. Rossi led the team, putting three of her four shots on goal. Johnson made four saves in the match, while Armstrong was forced to make five. The shutout is South Carolina's 12th of the season and marks just the fourth time this year that Tennessee has been held scoreless.

The loss drops the Lady Vols to 13-4-2 on the year. After losing to Georgia, 3-0, on Nov. 2, the Orange and White have now dropped back-to-back matches for the first time in 61 games, dating back to 2005.

"After our loss on Friday, I thought the team picked it up and we gave a good fight, but it was not enough," senior defender Jordan Falcusan said. "We can't discredit South Carolina. It is disappointing to go out in the first round, but sometimes you need to lose in order to win more down the road."

Though the loss is hard to swallow for the UT team that entered the postseason with its best record in program history at that point, the squad's NCAA Tournament hopes are still alive. Tennessee held the sixth-ranked Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) in the country going into the SEC Tournament and is 4-1-1 against top 25 opponents this season.

"It is very exciting and we are looking forward to the NCAA Tournament," Falcusan said. "This is a good time for the team to come together."

The Orange and White now await the decision of the NCAA Tournament selection committee on Monday, Nov. 12. The selection special airs live on ESPNEWS at 8 p.m. ET.

Five soccer players were recognized Tuesday by the SEC as some of the top student-athletes in the league. Junior forward Kylee Rossi earned her second consecutive SEC Offensive Player of the Year award, while junior goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson, senior forward Emily Redberg, freshman forward Devon Swaim and freshman midfielder Tanya Emerson also earned spots on the All-SEC and All-Freshman Teams.

Rossi led the league in both points and goals scored during SEC matches, tallying nine goals and three assists for 21 points during conference play. The Pennington, N.J., native is the only Lady Vol to ever achieve the league's highest offensive honor and is the fourth player in league history to earn the award twice. Rossi joins former SEC student-athletes Danielle Fotopoulos, Abby Wambach and Stephanie Freeman of Florida.

The junior is just one goal shy of tying the Tennessee program record for career goals with 27 in the past three seasons. Rossi has posted 10 goals and five assists this season and has scored 19 of her 28 career goals during SEC play. The Lady Vols' leading scorer this year, Rossi was a unanimous First Team All-SEC selection. Rossi has earned three straight selections to the All-SEC teams, including consecutive first team honors.

Joining Rossi on the First Team All-SEC was Johnson. After completing her first full regular season in goal for UT, Johnson is tied for first in the conference in shutouts with eight during the 2007 campaign. The Dayton, Ohio, native is also third in the league with a 0.81 goals against average.

During 2007, Johnson has posted 13 victories, giving her 19 for her career and placing her third all-time at Tennessee. The keeper is also third in career shutouts with 13. During the conference season, Johnson notched the fourth-best performance by a goalkeeper in program history, making 11 saves in a 2-0 shutout of Florida on Sept. 30.

Redberg was the Lady Vols' only member of the All-SEC second team. The Brooklyn Park, Minn., native enters the SEC Tournament as UT's second-leading scorer with seven goals and five assists for 17 points. Redberg has posted five goals and three assists during conference play. The honors are the first for both Johnson and Redberg.

Both Swaim and Emerson earned spots on the SEC All-Freshman team. In the first year of her collegiate career, Emerson posted three goals, including two game-winners, and two assists during conference play. The Capistrano Beach, Calif., native also played a valuable role in the midfield, both offensively and defensively for the Orange and White.

A redshirt freshman, Swaim has made her presence felt in her first full season on the pitch for Tennessee. The Levittown, Pa., native assisted on two goals and helped to jump start the UT offense during the league slate. Swaim finished the regular season with six points on two goals and two assists.

The All-SEC honors give the Orange and White 33 total selections to the all-conference teams in its 12-year history. Swaim and Emerson are Tennessee 's sixth and seventh All-Freshman Team honorees and first since 2005.

After leading Georgia to second place in the SEC and the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament, Head Coach Patrick Baker earned Coach of the Year honors. Bulldogs freshman defender Kelli Corless was named Freshman of the Year, while South Carolina sophomore defender Blakely Mattern took home the Defensive Player of the Year award.

LADY VOL VOLLEYBALL: Following a pair of record-breaking performances for the volleyball team this past weekend, sophomore Chloe Goldman and freshman Nikki Fowler each picked up a weekly award, as Goldman was named Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week and Fowler was tabbed Lady Vol Athlete of the Week.

The league honors mark the first of Goldman's career and the third by a Lady Vol this season, as sophomore Leah Hinkey was tabbed SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 28 and Fowler was named the Freshman of the Week on Oct. 15.

The Monterey, Calif., native played critical roles, both passing and defensively for UT this weekend. She was able to take over the top spot on the Tennessee single-season digs chart, as her 61 digs in two matches this weekend gave her 510 on the season and vaulted her past 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Amy Morris' total of 506. Goldman finished the weekend with an astounding 7.62 digs per game average as well.

The 5'6 libero opened the weekend with an amazing 40-dig performance against Ole Miss despite suffering a right leg injury in the second game. That mark ranks as both a career high and the second highest single-match total in school history. Only a 42-dig performance by Morris at Notre Dame on Nov. 26, 2005, ranks higher.

"Chloe played a very brave match, as she is limited athletically with some injuries that she is battling through," Volleyball Coach Rob Patrick said. "This record is a direct result of how hard she plays each and every match. Amy Morris was one of, if not the best libero I have ever seen play. I would never have thought that I would be blessed to have another defensive player as outstanding as her.

"If there is one person who deserves this record, it is Chloe because of the heart and desire she plays with at all times. I am very proud of her, and she has not even scratched the surface of her full potential."

Goldman's 40 digs also stand as the most in one match by any SEC player this season. Goldman was one of the team's top passers in the match as well, passing at a .976 clip with just one reception error in 41 attempts. She followed up that impressive defensive performance with 21 digs in just three games at LSU on Sunday.

For the season, Goldman sits in second on the SEC digs per game chart with a team-best average of 5.48. She also has the highest digs per game average of any player within SEC play with a 5.65 mark in 16 league matches, and has led Tennessee in digs in 22 of its 24 matches this season.

In a unanimous vote of the Lady Vol media relations staff, Fowler earned Lady Vol Athlete of the Week status over four other nominees, including Alissa VonderHaar of soccer, the Qwest Boat from rowing, Marci Turner of golf and Candace Parker from basketball. A Dallas, Texas, product, Fowler played a significant role in all facets of the game for Tennessee this weekend, serving as an invaluable contributor in the passing game, defensively, offensively and even setting.

Despite never having played the setter position at any level of competitive volleyball, Fowler helped run the Lady Vol offense as part of a 6-2 rotation on Friday against Ole Miss, recording the first triple-double in school history with 19 kills and career-high totals of 19 assists and 18 digs. She also finished a mere two blocks away from the first quadruple-double in the nation this season with eight putbacks in the match.

Fowler continued her solid play at LSU on Sunday, posting team highs with 11 kills and 33 attacks. She added seven digs, four assists and two blocks against the Tigers as well. For the weekend, Fowler finished as the team's top performer in kills (30), kills per game (3.75), attacks (87), points (36.5) and aces (one), while claiming second on the squad with a .218 hitting percentage, 23 assists, 10 blocks and 1.25 blocks per frame and third on the team with 25 digs, 3.12 digs per game and 2.88 assists per game.

During her rookie campaign, Fowler has played a critical role in a number of areas for the Lady Vols, as she leads the Big Orange with 277 kills, 828 total attacks, 2.98 kills per game, 350.0 points and 3.76 points per game. She also stands second on the squad with 26 aces and 86 blocks, third on the team with 82 assists and 0.92 blocks per game and fourth with 226 digs and 2.43 digs per game.

The Orange and White will next return to Knoxville for a season-long, three-match homestand. First up for the Lady Vols is No. 10 Florida, which will make the trip to Rocky Top for a 7 p.m. showdown on Nov. 9 at Stokely Athletics Center. That contest will be followed by a 1:30 matchup with South Carolina two days later, before UT hosts a mid-week showdown with border-rival Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

LADY VOL ROWING: The women's rowing team added two gold and two silver medals to its growing number of notable results during the fall season last Saturday at the Head of the Hooch Regatta in Chattanooga.

The Lady Vols took home first in both the Championship 8+ and Championship 2x races to bring their fall gold medal total to six.

"We had some very solid races out there today, particularly the championship eight, the double and the quads," UT Head Coach Lisa Glenn said. "We've learned a lot, but we have a long way to go."

The "Qwest" boat of sophomore coxswain Katie Ross, seniors Krista Gearing, Renee Brittle, Mary Jones and Jessica Ayers, juniors Kate Brownlee and Erin-Monique Shelton, sophomore Laura Miller and freshman Libuše Bruncvíkova' finished first to take gold in the Championship 8+ event. The race featured 32 shells including crews from the Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State. Tennessee's "HWPO" boat finished ninth in the event.

In the Championship 2x event, Shelton and Bruncvíkova' teamed up to take the Lady Vols' other gold, while the Orange and White's other boat, comprised of freshmen Ruth Ann Johnson and Melissa Toms took 24th. The two shells were competing against 25 other boats in the race.

UT swept the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the quad event, with junior Alex Shishkov, joining Brownlee, Brittle and Gearing for the silver medal. Taking the bronze and finishing ahead of three other boats were seniors Marisa Mohan and Kendra Warren, sophomore Mary Dreusike and Bruncvíkova'.

The Lady Vols scored their other silver medal in the Championship 4+. Racing in a field of 30 boats, the shell led by Ross and featuring sophomores Erin Gray and Laura Miller along with Jones and Ayers took second. Tennessee's other boat of sophomore coxswain Sydney Newman, freshman Ruthanne Waldrop and sophomores Stephanie Hunley, Jewell Ludwigsen and Brittany Sehring finished 14th.

"Our younger crew in the four, although they haven't reached their potential yet, put together a good race," Glenn said.

Tennessee's novice crews also got a chance to participate, with four boats competing in the Freshmen Novice 8+ event. UT took seventh, 12th, 14th and 15th in the race that featured 19 shells.

"I expected more from our novice crews," Glenn said. "We have work to do, we had some strong performances and some that fell short of where we should be at this point. We will continue to address those things and take the steps we need to take to get where we want to be."

The Lady Vols close out the fall season next week at the Rivanna Romp in Charlottesville, Va. The regatta is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 11.

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