Sept. 26, 2011
Two Sunday wins over a pair of sixth-ranked Florida teams, one in Gainesville and one in Knoxville, headlined the Tennessee athletics weekend.
Lady Vols volleyball completed a two-game road SEC sweep of South Carolina and Florida by knocking off the Gators 3-2 in front of a raucous crowd and nationally televised audience. Coach Rob Patrick's squad climbed to 11-2 overall and 4-0 in league play.
Back on campus, Lady Vols soccer rebounded from a Friday overtime loss to South Carolina by tripping Florida 4-2 in front of nearly 1,500 fans at Regal Stadium. Tennessee improved to 5-0-1 in its last six home matches against the Gators.
Women's tennis began its fall play by claiming a combined 18 singles and doubles wins at the Furman Fall Classic in Greenville, S.C. Junior Kata Szekely and freshman Sarah Toti won singles titles in their respective flights.
Women's golf faced a disadvantage nearly the entire weekend at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview in Franklin. Top player Erica Popson was sidelined Saturday and Sunday, and the four-player Lady Vols finished 17th at the site of next spring's NCAA Championship.
Men's tennis split its squads between the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Georgia and the Napa Valley Tennis Classic in California, with rain washing out the final day of competition out west.
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Despite dropping a hard-fought first set to South Carolina, the Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team responded and overcame the challenge by winning the next three sets to defeat the Gamecocks, 28-30, 25-12, 25-15, 28-26, in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 1,086 fans at the Volleyball Competition Facility here Friday evening.
Sophomore Kelsey Robinson continues to be a nightmare for the opposition, recording her eighth double-double and eighth 20-plus kill performance of the season by tallying 22 kills and 12 digs against USC. For the match she had a hitting percentage of .319.
Freshman setter Mary Pollmiller accounted for 53 of Tennessee's 59 assists on the night, along with adding three kills of her own. Both junior DeeDee Harrison and sophomore Carly Sahagian hit over .300 on the night, as Harrison had 11 kills and eight blocks, while Sahagian tallied 12 kills and 13 digs to register her fourth double-double of the season.
Lady Vols 3, Florida 2
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - In a hostile environment and playing in front of a national TV audience on ESPNU, the Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team edged No. 6 Florida in thrilling fashion, 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 19-25, 18-16, on Sunday evening at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
Tennessee (11-2, 4-0) had four players reach double-digits in kills, while two of them recorded double-doubles. Sophomore Carly Sahagian led the charge offensively with a career-high 19 kills, to go along with 13 digs. Sophomore Kelsey Robinson notched double-double number nine this season, blasting 17 kills in addition to 12 digs.
Juniors Leslie Cikra and DeeDee Harrison also reached double figures in kills, as Cikra hit a season-high 17, while Harrison notched 12 of her own. Harrison also led the squad in blocks, sending four attacks back against the Gators.
Freshman Mary Pollmiller continues to impress at the setter position, this time notching 59 assists, plus an ace, eight digs and two blocks.
Next: Friday at LSU, 7 p.m. Central; Sunday at Arkansas, 2 p.m. Central // FULL SCHEDULE
In front of the second largest crowd in Lady Vol soccer history (2,846 fans) on Friday at the Regal Soccer Stadium, No. 11 Tennessee managed to set an all-time program shutout record at 471:10 of game action but lost a 2-1, double-overtime heartbreaker to South Carolina in the league opener for both squads.
The Big Orange (7-2, 0-1 SEC) out-shot the Gamecocks 24-20 for the match and managed a 7-5 advantage on corner kicks. UT received the team-leading eighth goal of the season from sophomore forward Caroline Brown at 53:16, while senior forward Chelsea Hatcher picked up her squad-high fourth assist of the campaign. Freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel was required to make six saves over her 106:54 of action between the pipes.
When S.C. scored 15:32 into the contest, Tennessee saw an end to its shutout streak at 471:10, but that total surpassed the previous program benchmark of 457:35 that was established from Sept. 7-21, 2007. In all, the Lady Vols strung together their record skein over portions of seven matches, originally starting late in the 2-1 defeat to No. 8 UCLA on Aug. 26.
Lady Vols 4, Florida 2
Behind the first career hat trick from junior forward Alexis Owens in her initial start of 2011, the 11th-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team powered past the sixth-ranked Florida Gators 4-2 on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in front of 1,480 fans at the Regal Soccer Stadium.
U.S. soccer legend Mia Hamm was in attendance and saw the Lady Vols (8-2, 1-1 SEC) improve to an impressive 5-0-1 over their last six matches against Florida in Knoxville. UT now hasn't lost to the Gators on the home pitch since Oct. 5, 1999. The four goals also are the most tallies for UT in a league contest since topping Mississippi State 4-0 back on Oct. 21, 2007.
Tennessee also continued its best start in program history at 8-2 overall, topping the best previous record after 10 matches of 7-2-1 done by the 2007 Lady Vol squad.
Next: Friday at LSU, 7 p.m. Central; Sunday at Arkansas, 1 p.m. Central // FULL SCHEDULE
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Tennessee women's tennis team opened its season Friday at the Furman Fall Classic with a pair of top-three finishes in doubles. No. 28-ranked Brynn Boren and Sarah Toti finished second in flight two, while the No. 22-rated pairing of Natalie Pluskota and Joanna Henderson placed third in flight one.
With all three duos finishing the day 2-1, including Kata Szekely and Kayla McMurry in flight three, the Lady Vols finished the doubles portion with the second-most wins of any team competing (six). As Henderson and Toti made their collegiate debuts, only Szekely and McMurry had played together, and that was just twice last fall.
Furman Fall Classic (Day 2)
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Senior Natalie Pluskota defeated No. 6 Zoe De Bruycker of North Carolina 6-2, 6-3, the highest-ranked player at the Furman Fall Classic, and No. 30 Anya Morgina of South Carolina 6-1, 6-2, as one of three Lady Vols to open the 2011-12 tennis season with a 2-0 singles record Saturday.
Pluskota, junior Kata Szekely and freshman Sarah Toti will all compete for singles flight titles Sunday at the Mickel Tennis Center. With the triplet collecting six wins, the Lady Vols as a team went 9-3 on their first day of singles play. Seven of UT's nine wins came in straight sets, while the Lady Vols picked up three ranked wins, and have a chance for four more Sunday.
Sophomores Brynn Boren and Kayla McMurry and freshman Joanna Henderson all split their two matches.
Furman Fall Classic (Day 3)
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Junior Kata Szekely and freshman Sarah Toti each won singles titles in their respective flights at the Furman Fall Classic on Sunday, as the Lady Vols compiled 18 combined singles and doubles wins in their season-opening weekend.
Szekely started 3-0 for the second time in three years, capturing the flight three championship by defeating No. 68 Dijana Stojic of South Carolina in three sets (4-6, 6-1, 6-4). The win marked her highest-ranked win at Tennessee and improved her record against nationally-ranked foes to 3-4.
Toti started her Tennessee career with a perfect 3-0 record, including a pair of wins against ranked opponents. After knocking off No. 96 Katie Popova of South Carolina on Saturday, Toti locked up the flight four singles title with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) victory over No. 66 Chelsea Preeg of Vanderbilt.
Next: Oct. 1-9 at ITA All-American Championships, Pacific Palisades, Calif. // FULL SCHEDULE
FRANKLIN - The Lady Vol golf team opened the 2011 Mason Rudolph Fall Preview here Friday, firing a 15-over 303 on the opening day of competition. No team in the field finished the first round of play under par.
The Lady Vols are tied for eighth in a field of 18 teams at the invitation-only tournament hosted by Vanderbilt. The top 14 teams in the Golfweek preseason poll are at the event, taking place at the par-72 Legends Club.
Mason Rudolph Fall Preview (Day 2)
FRANKLIN - Lady Vol sophomore golfers Kaitlyn Rohrback and Chessey Thomas led Tennessee during second-round action at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview on Saturday, each carding rounds of 2-over-par 74.
The Lady Vols were without junior All-American Erica Popson, who was sidelined with an injury. Popson led UT in scoring in 2010-11 and took second place in Tennessee's 2011 fall opener, the Cougar Classic.
After turning in a first-round 83 on Friday, Rorhback shaved nine strokes off her opening round score. Thomas recorded three birdies and dropped a stroke off her Friday total as well, but the UT sits in 17th place in the field of 18 that features each of the top 14 teams in the Golfweek preseason rankings.
Mason Rudolph Fall Preview (Day 3)
FRANKLIN - Junior Sara Monberg and freshman AJ Newell each carded 4-over 76s to lead the seventh-ranked Tennessee women's golf team during the final round of competition at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview here Sunday.
The Lady Vols finished 17th in a very competitive field that featured each of the preseason top 14 teams in the country. The invitation-only event was held at the Legends Club, site of the 2012 NCAA Championship.
The Big Orange totaled 303-308-313--924 (+60) over three days at the Vanderbilt-hosted tournament.
Next: Oct. 7-9 at UNC Tar Heel Invitational, Durham, N.C. // FULL SCHEDULE
ST. HELENA, Calif. - Junior Edward Jones recorded a straight-set victory to headline the Tennessee Volunteers opening action Friday at the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic in St. Helena, Calif.
Jones, who primarily played No. 6 for the Vols last season, defeated Vanderbilt's No. 5 Blake Bazarnik 6-4, 7-6 (4) in his first match at the Meadowood Resort.
In Athens, Ga., at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships, senior Bryan Swartz picked up right where he left off.
Just off his first career tournament title, Swartz improved to 6-0 to start his final collegiate season, beating Winthrop's Dylan Comerford 6-1, 6-1 in the first round of the Division II draw.
Swartz and freshman Peter Nagovnak also teamed up for a win in the top doubles division, beating Samford's Elliot Barnwell and Zac Dunkie 9-8 (4).
Southern Intercollegiate/Napa Valley Tennis Classic (Day 2)
ATHENS, Ga. - Tennessee senior Bryan Swartz' eight-match winning streak finally came to an end Saturday as the Vols finished their second day of tournament competition away from Knoxville.
Swartz, who won his first career title last week at the Tennessee Fall Invitational, lost 6-3, 6-0 to Tennessee Tech's Justin Kirstein in the second round of the Division II draw. The lone senior on the Vols' squad won his last two matches of his junior season and entered Saturday 6-0 this year.
In doubles, Swartz and freshman Peter Nagovnak lost to Mississippi State's George Coupland and Trey Seymour.
The Vols also did not enjoy their best day of competition in the second round of the Land Rover Napa Valley Classic, losing all three singles and a doubles match at the Meadowood Resort in St. Helena, Calif.
In the second day of round-robin play, junior Edward Jones, sophomore Jarryd Chaplin and freshman Brandon Fickey in three sets. Freshman Hunter Reese, who had rolled his ankle in the tournament last week in Knoxville, was unable to play his match Saturday against California's Christopher Konigsfeldt.
Napa Valley Tennis Classic (Day 3)
ST. HELENA, Calif. - Rain and flight schedules forced the cancelation of half the Vols' tennis matches in the final round of the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic.
Tennessee junior Edward Jones was the lone Vol to complete his match on the tournament's last day at the Meadowood Resort. He led 6-3, 4-1 when opponent JC Aragone retired.
For the second day in a row, redshirt freshman Hunter Reese could not play his match because of injury, this time against UCLA's Warren Hardie. The missed matches do not count as losses against Reese's record because according to ITA rules, a point must be played before a match can be scored a win or loss.
The Vols return to competition Saturday with a pair of tournaments: the Georgia Tech Fall Invitational in Atlanta and the prequalifying rounds of the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
Next: Oct. 1-9 at ITA All-American Championships, Tulsa, Okla.; Oct. 1-3 at Georgia Tech Fall Invitational, Atlanta (split squad) // FULL SCHEDULE
Women's Swimming at UNC Wilmington, Friday, 3 p.m.; at UNC Wilmington Open Swim, Saturday, 8 a.m.
Football vs. Buffalo, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Men's Golf at Rod Myers Invitational, Durham, N.C., Saturday-Sunday