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Feb. 12, 2012

A pair of impressive Saturday road wins highlighted a busy weekend of Tennessee athletics.

First, the basketball Vols went to Florida and led nearly wire to wire en route to a 75-70 victory. UT swept the season series against the Gators for the third time in the last five years and, more importantly, climbed to 5-5 in the SEC.

The Vols, picked to finish 11th before the season, are in a four-way tie for fifth place heading into Wednesday's home date with Arkansas.

Later Saturday night, the Tennessee softballers shut out top-ranked and defending national champion Arizona State 3-0 on the Sun Devils' home field to headline a terrific opening weekend. The Lady Vols completed the four-day Kajikawa Classic with a 5-1 record, including a 4-1 mark over the weekend.

All five wins came against 2011 NCAA regional squads despite UT playing without the services of injured starters Raven Chavanne and Kat Dotson.

Women's tennis rallied Sunday for a 4-3 win over 12th-ranked Northwestern to cap a 2-1 weekend at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va.

Tennessee track and field had what director J.J. Clark called the "best meet of the year" Saturday at the Akron Invitational. And the timing couldn't be better with the SEC Indoor Championships next on the docket Feb. 24-26 in Lexington, Ky.

And men's tennis dropped a 6-1 home decision to 10th-ranked Duke, losing the doubles point for the first time this season. Next up for the Vols is the ITA National Team Indoors in Charlottesville.

This week in Knoxville, UT hosts the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jones Aquatic Center. Competition begins Wednesday and continues through Saturday.

Softball (4-1 for the weekend)
California 13, Lady Vols 5
TEMPE, Ariz. - On Friday in Kajikawa Classic action at Farrington Stadium, No. 3 California's Valerie Arioto hit two home runs and posted four RBIs to lead an 11-hit offensive attack as the Golden Bears topped the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols softball team, 13-5.

Despite playing without the services of junior third baseman and two-time All-American Raven Chavanne and with junior All-American Kat Dotson also out of the line-up because of a pre-existing injury, the Big Orange offense managed five runs on nine total hits off Cal All-American starter Jolene Henderson.

Junior third baseman Ashley Andrews led UT's charge with a 2-for-3 effort at the dish, while junior right fielder Whitney Hammond (1-for-4, run), sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman (1-for-4, run), freshman first baseman Cheyanne Tarango (0-for-1, three walks, run), senior designated player Shelby Burchell (1-for-4) and freshman catcher Hannah Akamine (1-for-2, walk) were each credited with an RBI. Junior pinch hitter Melissa Brown (1-for-1) and sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin (1-for-3) both doubled in the contest.

Lady Vols 1, Texas Tech 0
TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols softball team got back into the win column on Friday night at the Kajikawa Classic as junior third baseman Melissa Brown's fifth-inning RBI double proved enough offense to back junior Ellen Renfroe's 14-strikeout, two-hit shutout as UT topped Texas Tech, 1-0.

Brown was 1-for-3 at the dish with the RBI two-bagger, while junior second baseman Lauren Gibson (1-for-4), senior center fielder Ashley Andrews (1-for-3), sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman (1-for-3), freshman first baseman Cheyanne Tarango (1-for-2) and senior designated player Cat Hosfield (1-for-3) each posted one of UT's six hits in the match-up.

Ellen Renfroe still hasn't allowed a run over her first 14 innings of work in 2012 and has punched out a total of 25 hitters while permitting just three base knocks during wins over UCSB and Texas Tech (1-2).

Lady Vols 6, San Diego State 5
TEMPE, Ariz. - Faced with a 4-1 deficit through four innings during Kajikawa Classic action on Saturday afternoon at Farrington Stadium, No. 9 Tennessee got clutch home runs from freshman first baseman Cheyanne Tarango and junior third baseman Melissa Brown to rally past San Diego State, 6-5.

Lady Vols sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe improved to 3-0 on the season by firing 3.0 frames of relief, allowing four hits and striking out five. The Jackson, Tenn., native still hasn't allowed a single run over 17 total innings of work while allowing just seven base knocks and posting 30 strikeouts. Junior Ivy Renfroe got the start in the circle, permitting five runs on nine hits over four frames of effort with a walk and three K's.

For Tarango (1-for-4, HR, two RBIs) her two-run blast during Tennessee's four-run fifth inning marked the first big fly of her collegiate career. Brown (2-for-4, run) ended up recording the game-winning hit for the second consecutive match-up by blasting her solo HR in the top of the sixth. The Valencia, Calif., native doubled during the fifth inning on Fri., night to knock in the winning run in UT's 1-0 triumph over Texas Tech.

Lady Vols 3, Arizona State 0
TEMPE, Ariz. - On Saturday night in Kajikawa Classic action at the Farrington Stadium, sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman doubled in two runs, junior second baseman Lauren Gibson blasted a solo home run and sophomore pitcher Ellen Renfroe scattered seven total hits in her fourth consecutive shutout as the No. 9 Tennessee softball team knocked off No. 1 and defending national champion Arizona State (4-2), 3-0.

This marks the second straight season that the Big Orange have downed a No. 1 squad after defeating top-ranked Alabama 4-1 back on March 22, 2011, in Knoxville, and the program's fourth victory over a No. 1- or No. 2-ranked team over the last two seasons.

UT (4-1) again played without the services of All-American third baseman and lead-off hitter Raven Chavanne and All-American outfielder Kat Dotson, who both continue recovery from injury.

Lady Vols 9, Western Michigan 6
TEMPE, Ariz. - Behind the first two-home run effort and a career-high six RBIs from sophomore left fielder Melissa Davin, the No. 9 Tennessee Lady Vols softball team again rallied from a late deficit to defeat Western Michigan 9-6 and conclude the Kajikawa Classic at 5-1 overall.

During the weekend the Big Orange defeated five 2011 NCAA Regional squads and did so without the services of injured All-American standouts Raven Chavanne and Kat Dotson.

Davin blasted a pair of three-run homers, one in the third inning and another in the sixth, as part of a 2-for-2, three-run, six RBI effort. Junior second baseman Lauren Gibson (1-for-2, run) and sophomore shortstop Madison Shipman (2-for-3, double, run) each recorded a single RBI.

Next: Friday-Sunday at Time Warner Invitational, Austin, Texas // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Basketball (1-0 for the weekend)
Vols 75, Florida 70
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Tennessee finally got a road win, and this one might just give the team the boost it needs to turn around a mediocre season.

Trae Golden scored 17 points, Jeronne Maymon added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and the Volunteers upset seventh-ranked Florida 75-70 Saturday, ending the Gators' home-winning streak at 19.

It was Tennessee's most complete game of the season. Somewhat surprisingly, it came on the road, where the Vols had been 0-7.

"This is one of the most impressive wins of the season," said guard Kenny Hall, who scored eight points. "We got on them early and made sure we had the lead for most of the game."

Next: Wednesday vs. Arkansas, 8 p.m.; Saturday at Alabama, 1:30 p.m. Central time (2:30 p.m. Eastern) // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Tennis (2-1 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 4, Baylor 0
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - For the fourth time in school history, the 17th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols tennis team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, upsetting third-seeded and fifth-ranked Baylor 4-0 Friday at the Boar's Head Sports Club.

"I think our team came into the tournament confident, especially after beating Michigan," co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. "They just all believed they could win today and that made a huge different. If you don't have a full team that believes in themselves, it doesn't matter. I'm just so proud of them. They played great and competed really hard."

The win marks Tennessee's fifth in a row after dropping the first two matches of the season, in which the Lady Vols were shorthanded.

Southern California 4, Lady Vols 1
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Despite a valiant comeback to win the doubles point for the eighth time in as many matches, No. 17 Tennessee saw its five-match winning streak snapped by No. 16 Southern California 4-1 in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship quarterfinals on Saturday at the Boar's Head Sports Club.

After the Lady Vols (5-3) took a 1-0 lead in doubles, USC reeled off four victories in singles to advance to the semifinals, all of which came from undefeated Trojans that entered the contest with a combined 23-0 record.

"You need these kinds of matches," co-head coach Mike Patrick said of his young team. "You have to have those to get better and they got them. We played a great doubles point against a team that has some really good players. It was a great experience against a great team."

Lady Vols 4, Northwestern 3
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Down a set and trailing 4-0 in the second set, freshman Joanna Henderson rallied for what ultimately became the deciding point in three sets, as the Tennessee Lady Vols tennis team upset No. 12 Northwestern 4-3 Sunday in consolation play of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

The Lady Vols (6-3) locked up the doubles point for the ninth straight time and used singles victories from the three freshmen (Henderson, Sarah Toti and Caitlyn Williams) in their lineup to win their sixth match in the last seven at the Boar's Head Sports Club.

Henderson also had a hand in UT's doubles point. Teamed with Szekely, the duo shutout Kate Turvy and Brittany Wowchuk to clinch the early 1-0 lead. Boren and Toti provided the other half of the point, winning their 12th consecutive doubles match, defeating Niu and Hamilton, 8-1.

Next: Friday at Indiana, 2 p.m.; Sunday at Ohio State, Noon // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Indoor Track and Field (Flotrack Husky Classic/Akron Invitational)
Flotrack Husky Classic
A pair of Tennessee track & field distance runners were in action late Friday night at the Flotrack Husky Classic at the University of Washington's Dempsey Indoor in Seattle. Lady Vol senior Brittany Sheffey and Vol junior Chris Bodary made the cross-country journey to try and take advantage of an outstanding field of competitors and a fast track.

Bodary competed in section three of the men's 5K and came away with a readout of 14:32.32. That mark left him in 10th place in that section.

Akron Invitational
The Tennessee track & field teams got some good work in Saturday at Stile Field House in Akron, Ohio, as they completed their final preparations for the upcoming SEC Indoor Championships. The Lady Vols and Vols combined to win 10 Gold Division events and three Blue Division races in a variety of event areas at the Akron Invitational.

"We had our best meet of the year," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said about his program's performance. "We had a lot of personal records and wins, from the sprints, to the distances, to the throws, to the jumps. We just had some very good results all across the board.

"The timing for this kind of performance is very good as we prepare to spend the next two weeks preparing for the conference meet. It was just a good day overall, and now we'll regroup and get ready for Lexington."

The Vols dominated the sprints, with freshman Jamol James winning the 60m dash in a career-best reading of 6.72 to move to No. 12 on UT's all-time performers list in that event. Sophomore Jarael Nelvis seized the 200 crown, covering the distance in 21.44 as he and James won their first events as Vols. Junior Arnez Hardnick, a transfer from Grambling, was third in the 200 and fourth in the 60, carding personal records of 21.97 and 6.93, respectively.

Next: Feb. 24-26 at SEC Indoor Championships, Lexington, Ky. // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Indoor Track and Field (Flotrack Husky Classic/Akron Invitational)
Flotrack Husky Classic
A pair of Tennessee track & field distance runners were in action late Friday night at the Flotrack Husky Classic at the University of Washington's Dempsey Indoor in Seattle. Lady Vol senior Brittany Sheffey and Vol junior Chris Bodary made the cross-country journey to try and take advantage of an outstanding field of competitors and a fast track.

In the women's 5000m Invite section, Sheffey turned in a time of 16:18.37 to wind up 16th in a talented gathering that included several post-collegiate runners. That mark, which came in her first indoor attempt at that distance, moved her to No. 4 on UT's all-time indoor performers list in the event and was the ninth fastest ever registered by a Lady Vol. It also ranks her No. 1 in the SEC and No. 19 in the nation at this point in the season.

Akron Invitational
The Tennessee track & field teams got some good work in Saturday at Stile Field House in Akron, Ohio, as they completed their final preparations for the upcoming SEC Indoor Championships. The Lady Vols and Vols combined to win 10 Gold Division events and three Blue Division races in a variety of event areas at the Akron Invitational.

"We had our best meet of the year," UT Director of Track & Field J.J. Clark said about his program's performance. "We had a lot of personal records and wins, from the sprints, to the distances, to the throws, to the jumps. We just had some very good results all across the board.

"The timing for this kind of performance is very good as we prepare to spend the next two weeks preparing for the conference meet. It was just a good day overall, and now we'll regroup and get ready for Lexington."

The Lady Vols posted seven Gold victories, led by double victor Kia Jackson. The junior won both sprint titles with career-best times, taking the 60-meter dash in 7.47 seconds and wrapping up the 200 meters in 24.44. It marked the first time in her career she had finished first at a meet. Senior Ashley Harris grabbed third in the 200 at 24.95.

Next: Feb. 24-26 at SEC Indoor Championships, Lexington, Ky. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Tennis (0-1 for the weekend)
Duke 6, Vols 1
The Tennessee Volunteers lost to No. 10 Duke 6-1 in their final match Saturday before the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

The 20th-ranked Vols (4-3) lost the doubles point for the first time this season and could not make up the difference in singles at Goodfriend Tennis Center. Duke (7-0) took five of the six first sets and clinched the match at 4-0 when Torsten Wietoska defeated Jarryd Chaplin 6-2, 6-4 on court 3.

After winning a close doubles point on all three courts, Duke went ahead 2-0 when No. 17 Chris Mengel beat Brandon Fickey 6-3, 6-1 on court 2. A few minutes later, Jason Tahir beat Peter Nagovnak 6-2, 6-1 on court 6 in the Vol freshman's return to the singles lineup.

Next: Friday-Monday at ITA National Team Indoor Championships, Charlottesville, Va. // FULL SCHEDULE

Upcoming This Week in Other UT Sports
Men's Golf at San Diego Intercollegiate, Chula Vista, Calif., Monday-Tuesday
Women's Basketball vs. Kentucky, Monday, 7 p.m.; at Mississippi State, Thursday, 8 p.m. Central time (9 p.m. Eastern); at Mississippi, Sunday, 1 p.m. Central time (2 p.m. Eastern)
Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving vs. SEC Championships, Wednesday-Saturday
Baseball vs. Northern Illinois, Friday, 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.
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