Feb. 12, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee soccer team has announced its 2013 spring exhibition schedule, which includes four contests at Regal Soccer Stadium.
Tennessee will host Indiana (March 2), Clemson (March 9), Lee University (April 12) and East Tennessee State (April 17) and play one road contest at Virginia Tech (April 21). Admission for all spring matches at Regal Stadium is free.
The Lady Vols are coming off a banner 2012 season, the first under the direction of head coach Brian Pensky. The squad went 14-5-3 and made its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee also outperformed preseason league expectations, finishing third in the SEC after they were picked to 11th in the SEC Preseason Coaches' Poll in August. Tennessee boasted one of the nation's elite defenses. The team's 0.69 goals-against average set a new program record and the Lady Vols recorded 11 shutouts. UT also produced the longest shutout streak in school history with 533:22 of scoreless defense from Aug. 19 through Sept. 9.
UT finished at No. 18 in the final NCAA Women's Soccer RPI and the Lady Vols ranked 25th in the final Soccer America poll of 2012.
Sophomore forward Hannah Wilkinson became the fifth Lady Vol to be named an All-American (first, second or third team), joining Keeley Dowling, Ali Christoph, Jaimel Johnson and Kylee Rossi. Wilkinson was is also the fourth Lady Vol to garner NSCAA All-America honors (Dowling, Christoph, Johnson) and the first since Johnson earned third team accolades in 2007. She also earned first-team All-SEC honors. The Whangarei, New Zealand, native led the team in scoring with eight goals and four match-winners and tied for the team lead with 17 points.
Senior back Ali Hall was also an All-SEC and NSCAA All-South Region selection after leading one of the best defensive units in Tennessee soccer history.
The Lady Vols open the spring exhibition season against Indiana on March 2 at 1 p.m. The Hoosiers went 9-9-1 last season and have a new head coach in 2013 in Amy Berbary, who was hired on Feb. 6. Berbary was previously Auburn's associate head coach and the NSCAA named her its 2012 South Atlantic Regional Assistant Coach of the Year. Indiana finished seventh in the Big Ten last year with a 4-7 league record. The Hoosiers averaged 1.68 goals per match but allowed an average of 1.74 goals. The team returns its co-leader in points and its leader in assists in junior Rebecca Candler (four goals, 10 assists, 18 points) and it's co-leader in goals in junior Lisa Nouanesengsy (seven goals, three assists, 17 points).
On March 9, UT faces Clemson at 1 p.m. UT head coach Brian Pensky is 4-2-1 all-time in the regular season against the Tigers after facing them from 2005-11 as the head coach of Maryland. Penksy won his last four matches against the Tigers by a combined score of 10-1. Clemson went 6-10-2 in 2012 and finished 10th in the ACC with a 1-9 league mark. The Tigers scored 0.94 goals and allowed 2.06 goals per match in 2012. Clemson returns its leading scorer in sophomore forward Liska Dobberstein (four goals).
Tennessee hosts Lee University on April 12 at 7 p.m. In 2012, the Flames were an impressive 20-1-2 and a perfect 11-0 in the Southern States Athletic Conference. The team advanced to the semifinal round of the NAIA National Women's Soccer Championship and returns leading scorer Leah Fortune (16 goals, 10 assists, 42 points) and assists leader Ashley Aragona. Lee averaged 3.43 goals scored and 0.57 goals allowed per match
UT plays ETSU on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Regal Soccer Stadium. The Lady Buccaneers went 12-6-0 in 2012 and 6-3-0 in the A-Sun. Junior Ramey Kerns led the nation in scoring with a 1.167 goals-per-match average and her 21 scores tied for the most in the country. ETSU averaged 2.11 goals scored and 1.61 goals allowed per match.
The Lady Vols conclude spring play on the road in Blacksburg, Va., against Virginia Tech on April 21 at 1 p.m. Pensky won two of his last three games against Virginia Tech when he was at Maryland in a tight rivalry. The Hokies went 13-6-1 in 2012 and finished tied for eighth in the ACC with a 4-5-1 league record. VT averaged 1.85 goals scored and 1.00 goals allowed per match. The Hokies return their leading scorer in freshman Ashley Meier, who scored a team-high eight goals with three assists for 19 points as a rookie in 2012.