Feb. 28, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee soccer team opens spring exhibition play on Saturday when the Lady Vols take on Indiana at 1 p.m. at Regal Stadium.
Admission is free to all of UT's spring soccer games. Tennessee also hosts Clemson on March 9, Lee University on April 12 and ETSU on April 17. The Lady Vols close out spring play at Virginia Tech on April 21.
Tennessee is 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. The team 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. 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 averaged 1.68 goals per game and held opponents to 0.73 goals per contest last season. Tennessee returns its top two point scorers from 2012 in NSCAA All-American Hannah Wilkinson (eight goals, one assist for points) and Caroline Brown (five goals, seven assists for 17 points). The team also brings back starting goalkeeper Julie Eckel (0.70 GAA, .826 save percentage, 71 saves, 14-5-3 record). The Lady Vols also have dynamic midfielders Tori Bailey, CC Cobb and Susan Ferguson and versatile forward Katie Lenz back in the Orange and White for 2013. Defensively, UT returns the majority of its formidable back line in defenders Caroline Capocaccia, Allie Sirna and Brittney Wade.
Indiana went 9-9-1 in 2012 and the Hoosiers have a new head coach in former Auburn assistant 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 its co-leader in goals in junior Lisa Nouanesengsy (seven goals, three assists, 17 points).