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Nov. 7, 2011

Football blanked a Homecoming opponent for the first time in 16 years and volleyball stayed atop the SEC standings with a Sunday afternoon win to highlight Tennessee's athletics weekend.

The Vols shut out Middle Tennessee 24-0 to cap the weekend's Homecoming festivities. It was UT's first shutout for Homecoming since a 31-0 whitewash of Oklahoma State back in 1995. True freshman Justin Worley threw for 291 yards in his second start, and Tauren Poole added a pair of touchdown runs to boost the Vols.

Tennessee stopped Mississippi State in volleyball Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Lady Vols improved to 22-3 overall and 14-1 in SEC play, maintaining a one-game lead over second-place Kentucky. It's back on the road this week, with a road swing to Mississippi and Alabama. Tennessee plays its final three games at home beginning with Arkansas on Nov. 18.

The swimming and diving squads both won Friday at South Carolina. The men were victorious by a 167-132 count, with the women coasting to a 174-124 triumph. The next action for both squads is hosting the Tennessee Invitational on Nov. 16-18. UT hosts the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships in February.

Rowing capped its fall schedule with a big weekend in Chattanooga. The Lady Vols captured gold in both the championship eight and championship four races at Saturday's Head of the Hooch regatta. UT won six gold medals, two silvers and a bronze during the fall portion of their schedule.

Men's and women's tennis had doubles teams competing at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the U.S. Tennis Center in New York. The women's team of Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely won twice and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to the top seed. The men's doubles team of Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese lost its first two matches of the fall and also was eliminated from the competition.

And the women's soccer team awaits Monday's NCAA selection announcement after falling 2-0- to eventual champion Auburn in the SEC tournament semifinals. Tennessee finished the regular season 15-6 and hopes to be playing when first-round competition begins next weekend on campus sites.

Volleyball (1-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 3, Mississippi State 1
The No. 16 University of Tennessee volleyball team had four players register double-digits in kills against Mississippi State, as the balanced offensive attack was enough to top the Bulldogs in four sets, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 25-14, on Sunday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"It was a match that we needed to play well to win and I challenged our team, especially against a really good defensive team like Mississippi State, to play harder than them and try to outdig them," Lady Vol head coach Rob Patrick said. "We needed to be patient. If we thought we were going to go out here and just get a kill on our first swing, we were not going to be effective. Mississippi State can frustrate teams, so I was happy we were able to settle down a little bit and play a little bit more of a patient game."

Junior Leslie Cikra and sophomore Kelsey Robinson both registered 15 kills against the Bulldogs, as Cikra was second on the team in hitting percentage, connecting on 15 of her 26 swings, while only committing one error to hit .538. Robinson was one dig shy of recording double-double number 18 on the year, as she had nine digs and ranked second on the team in assists with five.

Next: Friday at Mississippi, 7 p.m. Central time; Sunday at Alabama, 1:30 p.m. Central time // FULL SCHEDULE

Football (1-0 for the weekend)
Vols 24, Middle Tennessee 0
Heading into Saturday's homecoming game against Middle Tennessee, Tennessee hadn't made a visit to the end zone - checkerboard or otherwise - in more than two games.

The Vols snapped a 10-quarter touchdown drought on their second possession and kept on scoring, defeating the Blue Raiders 24-0 Saturday night in Neyland Stadium.

The Vols (4-5) scored all 24 of their points in the first half, and could have added more had they converted a pair of fourth-down tries deep in MTSU territory in the second half.

Next: Saturday at Arkansas, 5 p.m. Central time // FULL SCHEDULE

Soccer (0-1 for the weekend)
Auburn 2, Lady Vols 0
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - Despite a dominant second half by No. 23 Tennessee that saw UT out-shoot Auburn by a commanding 12-2 count while totaling a 9-5 advantage on corners, the Tigers managed a goal late in each stanza to eliminate the Lady Vols from the SEC Tournament, 2-0, here Friday.

The Big Orange (15-6) now must wait to learn its postseason path during the NCAA Selection Show to be broadcast Monday at 4:30 p.m.

Tennessee out-shot the Tigers by a 21-11 count, including 4-3 on shots on frame, while each team managed 11 corner kicks.

UT junior midfielder Amy Harrison (team-high two shots on frame), sophomore forward Caroline Brown, senior forward Chelsea Hatcher and junior midfielder Kylie Bono each led UT's offense with four shots apiece. Freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel was forced to make one save during the contest.

Next: Friday in NCAA tournament, campus sites // FULL SCHEDULE

Rowing (Head of the Hooch)
Head of the Hooch
Looking to punctuate its fall schedule, the Tennessee rowing team did just so with first-place finishes in both the championship eight and championship four events at the Head of the Hooch regatta Saturday in Chattanooga.

The shell coxed by Ashley Fichthorn finished with a gold-medal mark of 16 minutes, 4.2 seconds. Behind Fichthorn were Rachel White, Erika Johnson, Hilary Epes, Erika Lauderdale, Liz Dickson, Kaelyn Gibson, Kristin Coggin and Evelyn Radford.

UT also placed a shell, coxed by Jessie Richardson, in eighth place. Comprised of Richardson, Taylor Athan, Ashley Case, Mary-Hannah Daugherty, Jessica Burns, Jennifer Bailey, Andrea Keesecker, Anita McClure and Maddie Bishop, the shell crossed the finish line in 16 minutes 40.3 seconds.

In the championship four, the Lady Vols shell coxed by Rachel Clagett and including Epes, Johnson, Dickson and Lauderdale won with a time of 17 minutes 50.5 seconds. Finishing in 11th for UT was the UT shell coxed by Fichthorn and including Burns, Daugherty, Case and McClure. The 11th-place shell finished in 18 minutes 36.4 seconds.

Next: Spring schedule to be announced // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Swimming and Diving (1-0 for the weekend)
Vols 167, South Carolina 132
While many Tennessee Volunteers did not compete in their usual races Friday, the team outcome stayed the same.

The Vols rattled off their second road victory in as many weeks, beating South Carolina 167-132 in Columbia, S.C.

Tennessee (3-1, 2-0 SEC) won 9 of 16 events in the meet and has now defeated South Carolina in 22 of 24 all-time meetings.

"We had some unusual performances because guys were swimming unusual races," Tennessee head coach John Trembley said. "There was a lot of spirit shown out there from start to finish of the meet."

Next: Nov. 16-18 vs. Tennessee Invitational, Allan Jones Aquatic Center // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Swimming and Diving (1-0 for the weekend)
Vols 174, South Carolina 124
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee Lady Vol swimming and diving team continued its winning ways on Friday afternoon, downing South Carolina, 174-124, at the Carolina Natatorium in Columbia, S.C.

"I was really pleased with what we got from the meet," Lady Vol head coach Matt Kredichsaid. "There were quite a few swims that were the fastest of the year. We had a few other swims that had some parts and elements that were good. As a whole, we are really doing well in the back half of our races and that is a sign that our conditioning right now is really good."

The Big Orange managed 10 wins against the Gamecocks, as many swimmers competed in different events for the first time this season.

Next: Nov. 16-18 vs. Tennessee Invitational, Allan Jones Aquatic Center // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Tennis (USTA/ITA National Collegiate Indoor Championships)
USTA/ITA National Collegiate Indoor Championship (Day 2)
FLUSHING, N.Y. - Facing the top seed in the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships doubles main draw, Tennessee's Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely lost their first match together, 8-5, Friday morning at the USTA Billy Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

Falling behind, 7-2, to 11th-ranked Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs of Stanford, the Lady Vol duo rallied to win the next three games before SU held serve to advance to the semifinals with an 8-5 win.

"Whenever you get into the second and third day of the tournament, there are always tougher matches," co-head coach Sonia Hahn-Patrick said. "It's unfortunate that they didn't come through in doubles, but Stanford is a very formidable team and really just attacked early. It took us a little bit of time to get into the match. Towards the end, they started playing better and really were a lot more competitive."

Next: Friday-Sunday at Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Claycourt Classic, Sarasota, Fla. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Tennis (USTA/ITA National Collegiate Indoor Championships)
USTA/ITA National Collegiate Indoor Championship (Day 2)
FLUSHING, N.Y. -- Missed opportunities early cost freshmen Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese late in the backdraw match Friday at the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships.

The Vol duo did not capitalize on five break point chances and paid the price later, falling 8-5 to New Mexico's Phil Anderson and Jadon Phillips at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

"We had a lot of chances. We were up 0-40 on one of their early serves and had two or three chances after that and we just didn't get it done," Reese said. "That was kind of the story of the day: we had chances, we didn't capitalize and it cost us. We got a little better than yesterday."

Next: Jan. 13-16 at SEC Coaches Indoor Championship, Lexington, Ky. // FULL SCHEDULE

Upcoming This Week in Other UT Sports
Men's Basketball vs. Lincoln Memorial (exhibition), Monday, 7 p.m.; vs. UNC Greensboro, Friday, 7 p.m.
Women's Basketball vs. Union (exhibition), Tuesday, 7 p.m.
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