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Oct. 24, 2011

Women's swimming swept a double-dual meet and soccer capped Senior Day festivities in style with a shutout victory to highlight the Tennessee athletics weekend.

The Lady Vols improved to 3-0 in swimming after breezing past Indiana and Kentucky on Saturday at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. UT won 174-126 over Indiana and 227-73 against Kentucky. Sunday at Regal Soccer Stadium, Tennessee proved too much for Auburn in a 2-0 Senior Day victory. The Lady Vols improved to 13-5 overall and 6-4 in SEC play.

Women's golf wrapped up its fall schedule with a tie for fourth in the prestigious Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge at Holston Hills Country Club. Sophomore Kaitlyn Rohrback tied for third - her best collegiate finish - and the SEC teams defeated their Pac-12 rivals in a challenge tournament format.

Volleyball set up its showdown match against Florida by sweeping a pair of road contests at Auburn and Georgia. The Lady Vols improved to 18-3 overall and 11-1 in the SEC, which is just good enough for a half-game lead over second-place Florida. The Gators visit Thompson-Boling Arena this Friday night.

Tennessee's doubles team of Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese is one win away from advancing to the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. They meet Kentucky's top-seeded doubles team Monday at 11:30 a.m. at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.

Football held Alabama to a 6-6 draw at halftime Saturday before succumbing to the nation's No. 2-ranked team by a 37-6 count. The Vols host South Carolina on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. Men's swimming just missed a double-dual meet sweep Saturday. The Vols breezed past Kentucky 213-87 but saw their rally against Indiana fall just short by a 151-149 margin.

And finally, rowing won a gold medal Saturday and then finished 11th in the championship eight Sunday at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. The squad hosts the Secret City Head Race this Saturday on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge.

Women's Swimming (2-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 174, Indiana 126
Lady Vols 227, Kentucky 73
Tennessee senior Jenny Connolly overcame a stomach virus Saturday to lift the Lady Vols to victories over Indiana and Kentucky at UT's Jones Aquatic Center. The Lady Vols topped Indiana 174-126 while beating Kentucky 227-73.

Connolly came down with a bug towards the end of the week, but told Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich she wanted to swim about an hour before Saturday's double-dual meet.

The West Lafeyette, Ind., native got the Lady Vols started off right, swimming the first leg of the winning 200 medley relay. Connolly, along with Kelsey Floyd, Molly Hannis and Caroline Simmons, swam to a first-place time of one minute 40.81 seconds.

"I thought Molly Hannis was incredible today," Kredich said. "We've seen flashes of what she did today in practice but this is the first big meet she's competed in. Lindsay Gendron and Kelsey Floyd did some really tough doubles today. We view that as really good training. Those were really good learning experiences."

Next: Thursday at Louisville, 2 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Soccer (1-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 2, Auburn 0
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in front of 1,389 fans at the Regal Soccer Stadium, the No. 19 Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team celebrated its Senior Day festivities in true style by riding goals from junior midfielder Amy Harrison and senior honoree Chelsea Hatcher to a commanding 2-0 victory over No. 22 Auburn.

With the triumph, the Big Orange (13-5-0, 6-4-0 Southeastern Conference) secured its 14th consecutive berth in the annual SEC Tournament to be held Nov. 2-6 in Orange Beach, Ala.

Harrison got the Big Orange attack going by blasting home her third goal of the campaign just 2:33 into the contest. The occurrence marked the fifth time in 2011 that the Big Orange scored on its very first shot of a match. For Hatcher the goal marked her fourth of the year and provided valuable insurance at the 54:55 mark. Fellow Senior Day honoree Emily Dowd was credited with her seventh assist and sophomore Caroline Brown picked up her team-best eighth helper of the season on Harrison's eventual match-winning tally.

Next: Friday at Georgia, 7 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Golf (4th at SEC/Pac-12 Challenge)
SEC/Pac-12 Challenge (Day 1)
Tournament directors for Friday's first round of the Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge made it easy to find the hottest teams. They were all in the same group.

UCLA, Alabama and Tennessee played together and stand 1-2-3 atop one of the best collegiate golf fields this side of the NCAA Championship after 18 holes at Knoxville's Holston Hills Country Club.

UCLA lived up to its No. 1 national ranking with a 7-under-par 281 that pushed the Bruins three strokes clear of second-place Alabama (284), which entered as the nation's No. 6 team. Tennessee is a clear third at 3-over 291 despite not being able to post a quality fourth score from its five-player squad.

SEC/Pac-12 Challenge (Day 2)
Nathalie Mansson seems determined to keep Tennessee afloat in the Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge.

The senior and 2009 medalist at this event matched her career low score of 67 Saturday as the Lady Vols held on to fourth place despite losing top player Erica Popson after just nine holes. Mansson is in a first-place tie heading into Sunday's final round at Holston Hills Country Club.

"I love playing with this much competition," Mansson said. "It makes it even more fun to play well and to see that I can be up there and the team can be up there too."

Mansson jumped from 15th place to the tie for first with Alabama's Stephanie Meadow at 5-under-par 139. The last time Mansson shot 67 in a collegiate tournament also was a second-day round en route to winning the Rebel Invitational last April in Mississippi. The Stockholm native owns three collegiate titles.

SEC/Pac-12 Challenge (Day 3)
Kaitlyn Rohrback didn't make the Tennessee lineup for this weekend's Mercedes-Benz SEC/Pac-12 Challenge, but she nearly etched her name in the tournament history book.

The sophomore from Crofton, Md., challenged for medalist honors Sunday thanks to a sizzling front nine before settling for a third-place tie that is her best collegiate finish to date.

Tennessee placed fourth in the tournament and the SEC captured the challenge portion over its Pac-12 rivals as the fall 2011 golf season closed on a solid note at Holston Hills Country Club.

Next: March 2-4 at Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, Hilton Head, S.C. // FULL SCHEDULE

Volleyball (2-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 3, Auburn 1
AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 20 University of Tennessee volleyball team got off to a bit of a sluggish start against Auburn, but bounced back to win three straight sets and defeat the Tigers in four, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-18, on Friday evening here at the Student Activities Center. With the win, the Lady Vols improve to 17-3 overall and 10-1 in Southeastern Conference play. The victory also assures UT of being .500 or better in league play for the fourth straight season and the 13th time under head coach Rob Patrick. "We were off balanced in that first set in all phases of the game," Patrick said "We needed to play a little bit better and we did. That was exciting to see as we put the first set behind us and in the second set we started to clean up large parts of our game. We put ourselves in a position to be successful and the team carried that through the rest of the match and I was pretty happy about that."

Lady Vols 3, Georgia 1
ATHENS, Ga. - The No. 20 University of Tennessee volleyball team started its second half of the SEC season much like the first, as the squad made it a perfect weekend by defeating Georgia in four sets, 25-15, 25-23, 26-28, 25-21, on Sunday afternoon here at the Ramsey Student Center. With the victory of UGA, the Lady Vols have now won three straight, improved their overall record to 18-3 and are an impressive 11-1 against the Southeastern Conference. "We came into Georgia knowing that Georgia has a very potent offense and very physical hitters," Lady Vol head coach Rob Patrick said. "We knew our work would be cut out for us being on the road and being in their home gym. I challenged our players to really win the hustle plays. I'm very pleased to how they responded to that. I thought that was the key to winning this match. How hard we played, how hard we went after the ball. It was a good win for us."

Next: Friday vs. Florida, 7 p.m.; Sunday vs. South Carolina, 1:30 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Tennis (USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships)
USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional (Day 2)
The singles tournament field at the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships shrunk from 64 to 16 players Friday, and three Tennessee Volunteers earned their way into the remaining field.

Junior Edward Jones and freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese each won two matches to advance to day three of the five-day event at the Goodfriend Tennis Center and Knoxville Racquet Club.

Reese finished his day with one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, bouncing back after the second set to beat sixth-seeded CharlieJones of Vanderbilt 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional (Day 3)
Tennessee freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese won two more matches Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships.

Playing in their first tournament together, Libietis and Reese knocked off fourth-seeded David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury 8-4 to remain in contention for the tournament title at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.

They face the 25th-ranked Indiana team of Josh MacTaggart and Stephen Vogl at 2 p.m. Admission is free.

The singles and doubles champions of the tournament receive automatic entry into the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in Flushing, N.Y., next month.

USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional (Day 4)
Freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese won again Sunday to advance to the doubles final of the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships at the Goodfriend Tennis Center.

Libietis and Reese scored the first ranked wins of their careers in the process, beating 25th-ranked Josh MacTaggart and Stephen Vogl of Indiana 8-5 in the semifinals.

The Vols duo now faces top-seeded Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek of Kentucky, who were down 5-0 and rallied to beat Indiana's Isade Juneau and Jeremy Langer 8-6 in their semifinal match.

Next: Monday at USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Championships (Day 5), Goodfriend Tennis Center, 11:30 a.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Swimming (1-1 for the weekend)
Vols 213, Kentucky 87
Indiana 151, Vols 149
After a hard-fought double-dual meet, Tennessee's comeback stopped just short of a sweep as the Vols dropped a close contest to Indiana 151-149 while drubbing Kentucky 213-87.

In an unusual meet format, the spotlight was eventually thrown to the diving well to determine the winner of the Vols-Hoosiers contest. A 1-2 finish by UT divers Ryan Helms and Mauricio Rodriguez brought the Big Orange within two points.

"I enjoyed the energy and excitement at the end of the meet," head coach John Trembley said. "Our divers performed strongly, but we were just a little short. We needed a bit more from our racers earlier in the meet."

Next: Thursday at Louisville, 2 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Football (0-1 for the weekend)
Alabama 37, Vols 6
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - For the first 30 minutes on Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tennessee traded punches with No. 2 Alabama.

For the last 30 minutes, the Crimson Tide dominated their home turf on the way to a 37-6 victory.

For the Vols, it's becoming an all-too-familiar story.

"Seems like we're saying the same things each week," linebacker Austin Johnson said. "You've got to play 60 minutes, but we've only been playing 30."

Next: Saturday vs. South Carolina, 7:15 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Rowing (11th at Head of the Charles Regatta)
Head of the Charles Regatta
The Tennessee rowing team wrapped up the Head of the Charles Regatta with an 11th-place finish in the championship eight Sunday in Boston.

The Lady Vol shell coxed by Ashley Fichthorn crossed the finish line in 16 minutes 52.48 seconds. Behind Fichthorn were Anita McClure, Erika Johnson, Kristin Coggin, Andrea Keesecker, Jennifer Bailey, Kaelyn Gibson, Hilary Epes and Erika Lauderdale.

On Saturday, Tennessee claimed a gold medal in the club eight event, an event the Lady Vols have claimed six times since 2001. A group of Lady Vol alumni also took fourth in the alumni eight event.

Next: Saturday vs. Secret City Head Race, Melton Hill Lake, Oak Ridge // FULL SCHEDULE

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