April 22, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee soccer team completed its schedule of spring games this past weekend. After five exhibition games, head coach Brian Pensky is pleased with the progress that the Lady Vols made this semester as they prepare for the 2013 season.
"It's been a great spring in terms of making strides and progress as a team and also on an individual level," Pensky said. "We had a number of kids who did not get a lot of playing time in the fall see a lot of action this spring - minimally 30 to 45 to 60 minutes a game."
Pensky noted that the team made great strides in the possession aspect of the game. He said that UT's 1-1 draw in the spring finale at Virginia Tech on Sunday was helpful as it gave Tennessee a better idea of where it stands as a team heading into the summer.
"Our team possession this spring has been very good," he said. "We've been focusing a lot simply connecting passes and the number of passes we're connecting in each half and each game and in the front half and the back half of the field. We're just trying to be a better possession-oriented team and make progress from the fall - and I think we did that."
The Lady Vols are coming off a banner 2012 season, the first under Pensky's direction. 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 ranked 25th in the final Soccer America poll of 2012. Hannah Wilkinson, who will return as a junior in 2013, was named an NSCAA Third Team All-American and also garnered All-SEC honors.