Nov. 13, 2011

An impressive pair of basketball wins to open the regular season highlighted the Tennessee athletics weekend.

The Vols officially christened the Cuonzo Martin era Friday with a 92-63 win over UNC Greensboro, and the Lady Vols followed Sunday with an equally lopsided 89-57 triumph over Pepperdine. Trae Golden led the men's effort with a career-high 29 points, while the Lady Vols used a balanced attack and an 18-0 second half run to settle their score.

Volleyball kept rolling and clung to its one-game lead over second-place Kentucky thanks to a weekend sweep at Mississippi and Alabama. The 15th-ranked Lady Vols improved to 24-3 overall and 16-1 in conference play. UT has three SEC games remaining, all at home, against Arkansas, LSU and, on Nov. 23, Kentucky.

Doubles pair Brynn Boren and Sarah Toti won their first collegiate championship together Sunday when they captured the Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic near Sarasota, Fla. The 28th-ranked duo used the event's first-round bye and three wins to finish their fall schedule with an 11-3 record.

Senior Brittany Sheffey advanced to the NCAA Cross Country Championships by virtue of her eighth-place showing at Saturday's NCAA South Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Sheffey concluded the team portion of her season by earning All-South Region honors for the second straight year and helping the Lady Vols finish 13th at the regional. The men placed 12th behind Chris Bodary's individual finish of 12th.

Tennessee dropped a 49-7 football decision at Arkansas on Saturday after soccer was eliminated from the NCAA tournament earlier that day by Ohio State, 3-0.

Women's Basketball (1-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 89, Pepperdine 57
Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt has been waiting for the season to start, ready to get the attention off her dementia diagnosis and back on her Lady Volunteers. The Lady Vols are determined to bring home the program's ninth national title in honor of their coach. First they've got to get through a blistering nonconference schedule, which began with an 89-57 win against a tough Pepperdine team on Sunday in both teams' season opener. The focus was still on Summitt briefly before the game as U.S. Sports Academy director of communications Duwayne Escobedo presented Summitt with the Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award.

Next: Tuesday vs. Miami (Fla.), 6 p.m.; Sunday at Virginia, 2 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Basketball (1-0 for the weekend)
Vols 92, UNC Greensboro 63
The Cuonzo Martin Era got under way Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena, but it was Trae Golden who stole the show.

Golden scored a career-high 29 points and dished out nine assists in leading Tennessee to a 92-63 victory over UNC Greensboro in the season opener for both teams and the debut of Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin.

The explosive output by the Vols' sophomore point guard dwarfed his previous career-high of 8 points set last season against Memphis on Jan. 11.

Next: Wednesday vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 7 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Volleyball (2-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 3, Mississippi 2
OXFORD, Miss. - Just like the first time the two teams met in Knoxville on Oct. 9, the No. 15 University of Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team gutted out a five set win versus Ole Miss, this time on the road, 26-24, 26-28, 25-23, 17-25, 15-13, on Friday evening at the Gillom Sports Center in Oxford, Miss.

"Mississippi played a great match and I'm proud of our players, who really grinded it out and worked through a tough match," Lady Vol head coach Rob Patrick said. "We knew it was going to be tough. Mississippi just presents a bad matchup for us and they played great volleyball. We can win matches in a lot of different ways and today our defense wasn't what it needed to be, but our offense was able to carry us through."

The Lady Vol outside hitters filled up that stat sheet, as sophomore Kelsey Robinson, junior Leslie Cikra and freshman Tiffany Baker all had 18 or more kills on the night.

Lady Vols 3, Alabama 0
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 15 University of Tennessee volleyball team concluded the road portion of its regular season schedule in dominating fashion, topping Alabama in straight set, 25-17, 25-14, 25-13, on Sunday afternoon at Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

"I was really excited about the way we came out and played from the first point on," Lady Vol head coach Rob Patrick said. "Overall, I was pleased with the defense, offense and the serving. It was a good with for us."

The Big Orange (24-3, 16-1) hit at a clip of .433, which was the team's second best performance of the season, only behind its .446 effort against South Carolina on Oct. 30. The triumph over the Tide marked the team's ninth straight victory and the program's 800th win.

Next: Friday vs. Arkansas, 7 p.m.; Sunday vs. LSU, 2 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Tennis (Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic)
Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic (Day 1)
After earning a bye in both the singles and doubles draws of the Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic, freshman Sarah Toti advanced in each Friday at the Lakewood Ranch (Fla.) Golf & Country Club.

Toti and sophomore Brynn Boren, the top-seeded tandem at the event, advanced to the semifinals of the doubles bracket, defeating Mariya Spluska and Stefanie Mikesz of Memphis, 8-5, in their lone match of the day.

In singles, Toti was victorious against Notre Dame's Katherine White. After dropping the first set, Toti responded with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win, her sixth of the season.

Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic (Day 2)
Sophomore Brynn Boren and freshman Sarah Toti used a 9-7 victory on Saturday over Notre Dame's Britney Sanders and Katherine White to advance to Sunday's doubles championship match at the Dick Vitale Clay Court Classic, hosted at the Lakewood Ranch (Fla.) Golf & Country Club.

Trailing 7-6, the tournament's top-seeded tandem reeled off the next three games to win the semifinal match and improve their record to 10-3 together.

After also defeating White in singles the day before, Toti dropped her quarterfinal match, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to No. 78 Courtney Collins (Memphis) on Saturday, wrapping up her fall season individually. Toti won six of her nine singles matches.

Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic (Day 3)
Sophomore Brynn Boren and freshman Sarah Toti, the top-seeded tandem at the Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic, won the tournament's doubles championship Sunday at the Lakewood Ranch (Fla.) Golf & Country Club to cap a strong fall for the Lady Vol tennis program.

Much like Saturday's semifinal match, a switch flipped, and the duo locked in.

Behind 3-2 to Oklahoma State's Meghan Blevins and Mary Jeremiah, Boren and Toti won six of the final seven games to claim the doubles title, 8-4, at the nation's only collegiate tournament on clay.

"It was great," Boren said. "It started off rough, but obviously we figured it out in the end thanks to my partner. We had a great run. It was exciting to play with her and I thought we did really well."

Next: Jan. 21 vs. Virginia in New York City; Jan. 22 vs. North Carolina in New York City // FULL SCHEDULE

Women's Cross Country (NCAA South Regional)
NCAA South Regional (13th)
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Lady Vols senior Brittany Sheffey qualified for her first NCAA Championship meet here Saturday in the NCAA South Regional at Harry Pritchett Running Park.

The Lady Vols, who finished the race without three of their projected top-five runners, checked in 13th out of 27 schools with 384 points. In the women's race, top-ranked Florida State and No. 4 Vanderbilt advanced to nationals, tallying point totals of 34 and 54, respectively.

Sheffey made her third All-South Region squad and earned her first national bid, covering the 6000-meter course in 20:46.2 to place eighth of 191 runners. Having won the 5K Crimson Classic on the same course on Oct. 15, Sheffey returned Saturday and produced her fourth top-10 finish of the season and sixth of her career.

The native of Bellport, N.Y., finished a perfect 24 of 24 races in her college career of counting toward Tennessee's point total. She'll now run individually in the NCAA Championship meet after earning a bid as one of the top four runners not on the two automatic-advancing teams. It marks the eighth time in Clark's 10 seasons of leading the women's program that he had either a team or individual competing at the national meet.

Next: Nov. 21 at NCAA Cross Country Championships, Terre Haute, Ind. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Cross Country (NCAA South Regional)
NCAA South Regional (12th)
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Vols senior Chris Bodary, who placed 12th at Saturday's NCAA South Regional and was the sixth individual finisher not on one of the two automatic-advancing teams, did not get an invitation to the NCAA meet.

While the Big Orange got superb individual efforts from their leaders, as has been customary this season, nothing else seemed to fall in place for J.J. Clark's teams. As a result, the Vols turned in a 12th-place showing out of 24 teams, tallying 341 points. Sixteenth-ranked Florida State captured the men's title, accumulating 40 points, followed by Florida with 68, sending both on to the NCAA meet in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 21.

As he has done all season long, Bodary blazed a trail for his Vol teammates to follow, crossing the finish line 12th out of 159 men in 31 minutes, 30.2 seconds over 10,000 meters. It was an improvement of 11 places over 2010 and enabled the native of Downington, Pa., to earn All-South Region accolades for the second year in a row.

Bodary held nothing back in trying to secure an individual NCAA Championship meet berth, but he came up just short of an automatic bid. The top four runners not on the two NCAA automatic-qualifying squads receive invitations, and Bodary was the sixth such finisher.

Next: Season complete // FULL SCHEDULE

Football (0-1 for the weekend)
Arkansas 49, Vols 7
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Tennessee's SEC struggles continued against No. 8 Arkansas on Saturday night.

The Razorbacks leveraged big plays to take a commanding 28-point third-quarter lead and ran away with a 49-7 victory at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"When you don't answer the bell, it wears on you," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "We had our chances."

Wide receiver Joe Adams and running back Dennis Johnson did most of the damage for Arkansas.

Adams came through with the night's signature play in the second quarter - and one perhaps emblematic of what went wrong in Tennessee's third game against at top 10 team from the SEC West this season.

Leading 7-0, Adams fielded a low punt from Matt Darr, backtracked nearly 15 yards, broke six tackles and outran the rest of UT's coverage team down the right sideline for a 60-yard touchdown.

Next: Saturday vs. Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Soccer (0-1 for the weekend)
Ohio State 3, Lady Vols 0
A goal in the ninth minute set the early tone for Ohio State on Saturday in NCAA First Round action at the Regal Soccer Stadium, as the Buckeyes eliminated the Tennessee Lady Vols 3-0 from postseason play.

The Big Orange senior class consisting of forwards Chelsea Hatcher and Emily Dowd, midfielders Emily Shore and Lara Langworthy and defenders Hannah Hut and Chelsea Kephart concluded their careers at Rocky Top having helped guide the UT program to 43 victories, a pair of NCAA Tournament berths (2008, 2011) and the 2008 Southeastern Conference Tournament title. Tennessee finishes 15-7 this season.

Hatcher led the Lady Vols offense versus Ohio State by taking four shots, including two on frame, while Dowd was credited with a pair of shots. Freshman goalkeeper Julie Eckel made six stops between the pipes, concluding her initial campaign at UT with 105 saves. The total for the Cordova, Tenn., native rates her behind only former Lady Vol All-American net-minder Jaimel Johnson (111 saves in 2007) in the Tennessee single-season record book for that category.

Dowd (12 goals, 31 points) and sophomore forward Caroline Brown (11 goals, 30 points) completed the campaign as one of the highest-scoring duos in UT single-season annals, becoming the first Lady Vols pair to both reach 10-plus goals in the same season since 1998.

Next: Season complete // FULL SCHEDULE

Upcoming This Week in Other UT Sports
Swimming & Diving vs. Tennessee Invitational, Wednesday-Friday (men & women)


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