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Jan. 29, 2012

A historic swimming and diving win, two basketball victories and a trio of tennis triumphs headlined the Tennessee athletics weekend.

The Lady Vols picked the perfect time for their first dual-meet win over Florida: Senior Day at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. Tenth-ranked Tennessee rolled to a comfortable 178-120 triumph over the second-ranked Gators and set the stage for what should be a very competitive SEC Championships weekend Feb. 15-18 in the UT facility. The men's result saw Florida knock off the 20th-ranked Vols 171-129.

Both the men and women posted solid basketball wins over Auburn and Georgia, respectively. The Vols out-rebounded Auburn by 23 - Jeronne Maymon grabbing 19 boards by himself - en route to Saturday's 64-49 win. The Lady Vols used an impressive second half to coast past Georgia for the second time this year, winning Sunday in Athens by a 67-50 count.

And the UT tennis programs are one win away from sending both teams to the ITA National Indoor Championships. The Lady Vols won twice to punch their ticket to the Feb. 10-13 competition at Virginia, while the Vols must handle Mississippi on Monday afternoon to make their way to Charlottesville on Feb. 17-20.

Track and field had a good showing at the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge, with the women contributing heavily to the SEC's win over the Pac-12 and Big 12. Meanwhile, the Vols placed 1-2-3 in the pole vault to headline their weekend results at the same competition.

Women's Swimming (1-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 178, Florida 120
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.The 10th-ranked University of Tennessee Lady Vol swimming & diving team notched the program's first win over Florida on Saturday afternoon, downing the second-ranked Gators in dominating fashion, 178-120, on Senior Day at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.

Before the meet, the Lady Vols (6-1, 3-1) honored its nine seniors, then went on to put on a memorable show, winning 12 of the 16 events, breaking five pool records, one Tennessee record and setting numerous season-best and NCAA B-cut times.

"It is hard to put something like that (beating UF for the first time) in perspective," Lady Vols head coach Matt Kredich said. "You don't want to put 25 years of history on one particular team. The team knows they had never beaten them before and maybe there is some mystique about it."

Next: Feb. 15-18 vs. SEC Championships, Allan Jones Aquatic Center // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Basketball (1-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 67, Georgia 50
ATHENS, Ga. - After leading by just one point at halftime, No. 7/9 Tennessee outscored Georgia in the second half 38-22 to claim a 67-50 victory at Stegman Coliseum on Sunday evening.

The Lady Vols (16-5, 7-1 SEC) scored the first 11 points of the second half to take a 40-28 lead and never looked back. The closest the Lady Dogs (16-6, 5-4) got for the remainder of the game was eight points.

Shekinna Stricklen led all scorers with 24 points. Ariel Massengale was Tennessee's only other double-figure scorer with 16.

No. 17/15 Georgia was led by Meredith Mitchell (13) and Jasmine Hassell (11). The Lady Vols' defense was stifling as it limited Georgia to just 28.8 percent from the floor (17-of-59) and a 2-of-18 from 3-point range.

Next: Thursday vs. South Carolina, 7 p.m.; Sunday vs. Auburn, 2 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Basketball (1-0 for the weekend)
Vols 64, Auburn 49
Jeronne Maymon scored 15 points and grabbed 19 rebounds and Tennessee's defense held Auburn to just 30.4 percent from the floor as the Volunteers overpowered the Tigers 64-49 Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Four other Vols scored in double figures as the Tigers tried to use a zone defense look to contain Tennessee's inside presence. It didn't work.

Tennessee (10-11, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) was able to work past the shifting Auburn (12-9, 2-5) defense and outscore the Tigers 26-12 in the paint. The Vols also owned the boards, outrebounding the Tigers 53-30. The Vols held the Tigers to just five offensive rebounds for the game.

Next: Tuesday at Kentucky, 7 p.m.; Saturday vs. Georgia, 8 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Tennis (2-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 5, UC Davis 0
In dominating fashion, the 19th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols tennis team recorded its first victory of the 2012 season and 600th in program history, blanking UC Davis 5-0 Friday afternoon at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.

After being shorthanded in their opening two matches with just five in the singles lineup, the Lady Vols (1-2) were at full strength on Friday and it showed.

"It always feels good to get that first win," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "We have a young team so it is important to try and get some confidence going. We played some really tough competition last week, and it was fun for them to come out today and dominate a little bit."

Lady Vols 4, Tulsa 0
Sixty schools competed in the ITA Kick-Off this weekend for 15 vacant spots the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship, to be hosted Feb. 10-13 by Virginia.

On Saturday, the 19th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols tennis team earned one of those vacant spots. For the third consecutive year, UT will participate in the ITA National Indoors, punching its ticket via a 4-0 win over 22nd-ranked and previously undefeated Tulsa at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.

"We are really excited to be moving on to Charlottesville," co-head coach Mike Patrick said. "Our kids played great and I am really proud of them. We want to keep improving every day. We have a young enough team that the little goals like learning how to handle pressure situations, staying aggressive and playing hard are the little things that need to happen on a daily basis."

Next: Friday vs. Notre Dame, 5 p.m.; Sunday vs. Michigan, 10 a.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Tennis (1-0 for the weekend)
Vols 4, Michigan State 2
Tennessee head coach Sam Winterbotham is still waiting for a full six-court performance from the Vols, but enough of the team was up to the task Sunday to get Tennessee into the second round of ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

With the freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Brandon Fickey victorious at the top of the lineup once again,sophomore Jarryd Chaplin clinched the Vols' 4-2 win over Michigan State at Goodfriend Tennis Center to start the two-day tournament.

"I think `relief' is a good word," Winterbotham said. "We wanted to do really well this weekend. Michigan State is a team that has improved a lot and played really well. As coaches, we know we didn't give a great performance but we were able to come out with a win. I'm not saying I'm happy but would say I'm relieved we get to fight another day."

The 24th-ranked Vols (3-1) now face 23rd-ranked Mississippi on Monday in the finals of the two-day tournament. The match starts at 5 p.m. at Goodfriend Tennis Center.

Next: Monday vs. Mississippi, ITA Kickoff Weekend, 5 p.m.; Sunday vs. Illinois, 5 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Indoor Track and Field (Texas A&M Mondo Challenge)
Texas A&M Mondo Challenge (Day 1)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Tennessee sent its men's and women's distance medley relay units into battle Friday night at the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge. Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark came away feeling positive about the efforts of both units.

The UT men came away with a fifth-place finish and four points for the SEC in the three-conference showdown. The combination of junior Chris Bodary, senior Deaundra Dailey, freshman Nick Kaiser and redshirt freshman Alex McCandless circled the oval in 10:11.17.

"Obviously, we always want to win on both the men's and women's teams," Clark said. "Our guys got some good work in, and we'll keep getting faster as the season goes on. Given some circumstances with our lineup, we did as well as we could for right now, and I'm proud of their efforts."

Texas A&M Mondo Challenge (Day 2)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Tennessee track & field teams collected two victories and four runner-up finishes, and they provided 21 other point-producing performances Saturday night at the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.

In the men's competition, the Big 12 prevailed with 277.25 points, followed by the Pac-12 (227.25) and SEC (164.50). Competing schools included Florida and Tennessee for the SEC, Texas A&M and Texas Tech for the Big 12 and Arizona State and Oregon for the Pac-12.

The Big Orange got a 1-2-3 finish in the men's pole vault from senior Robert Rasnick and sophomores Chase Brannon and Tyler Porter. Redshirt freshman Matthew Hoty added a runner-up toss in the men's shot put.

"We showed progress on both teams, with personal records in the distances and sprints, improvements in the relays and wins in the field events and middle distances," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "I can see a shift taking place, and this is the direction we are trying to go. We just need to keep forging onward and get ready for the conference meet and NCAA meet in the next few weeks.

Next: Friday-Saturday at New Balance Collegiate Invitational, New York City // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Indoor Track and Field (Texas A&M Mondo Challenge)
Texas A&M Mondo Challenge (Day 1)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Lady Vols distance medley relay team didn't waste any time qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Tennessee DMR tandem met the automatic standard Friday night at the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge with one of the fastest clockings in school history.

The quartet of seniors Chanelle Price and Ellen Wortham, junior Nijgia Snapp and senior Brittany Sheffey covered the distance in 11 minutes, 2.74 seconds to card the No. 2 mark in the NCAA this season and the fifth-best readout in school history. It also stands as the top mark ever recorded by a Big Orange tandem in the month of January. That quartet will join senior Annie Alexander, who qualified for NCAAs in the shot put last weekend, at the NCAA meet in Nampa, Idaho, on March 9-10.

Tennessee, which has won four NCAA titles and seven SEC crowns in the DMR under Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark, finished second Friday night behind Oregon, which clocked in at 10:56.31. The squads were the only ones at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium to meet the auto mark of 11:03.50.

Texas A&M Mondo Challenge (Day 2)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Tennessee track & field teams collected two victories and four runner-up finishes, and they provided 21 other point-producing performances Saturday night at the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.

The 17th-ranked Lady Vols contributed heavily to the Southeastern Conference's triumph in the women's conference showdown and scored the final three points of the evening in a sixth-place finish in the 4x400m relay. The SEC tallied 216 points to hold off the Big 12 (214) and Pac-12 (178). Competing schools included Florida and Tennessee for the SEC, Texas A&M and Texas Tech for the Big 12 and Arizona State and Oregon for the Pac-12.

The Big Orange got another nation-leading mark in the 800 meters from senior Chanelle Price. Senior Annie Alexander was second in the women's shot, and junior Kia Jackson rustled up a silver showing in the women's long jump as well.

"We showed progress on both teams, with personal records in the distances and sprints, improvements in the relays and wins in the field events and middle distances," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said. "I can see a shift taking place, and this is the direction we are trying to go. We just need to keep forging onward and get ready for the conference meet and NCAA meet in the next few weeks.

Next: Friday-Saturday at New Balance Collegiate Invitational, New York City // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Swimming (0-1 for the weekend)
Florida 171, Vols 129
In their final home dual meet at Allan Jones Aquatic Center, Tennessee's senior class took full advantage of their last opportunity Saturday.

The Vols seniors played a role in seven of the team's eight event victories, although 20th-ranked Tennessee lost the meet to seventh-ranked Florida 171-129.

"Overall, Florida is very deep, deeper than we were," Tennessee interim head coach Lars Jorgensen said. "We kind of knew that coming in. I think they're going to be the favorites in the SEC Championships in a couple weeks.

Next: Feb. 15-18 vs. SEC Championships, Allan Jones Aquatic Center // FULL SCHEDULE

 
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