June 12, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee soccer team has announced its 2013 match schedule, which features nine exciting home contests at Regal Soccer Stadium. The Lady Vols will open their 2013 regular season at home on Aug. 23 against Oklahoma.
"Once again we'll play a competitive schedule, both in and out of conference," Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky said. "We are excited to have a number of fan-friendly Friday night games at Regal this fall, starting with non-conference opponents Oklahoma and Dayton. Then once we get into our SEC schedule, we will host Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Auburn and Florida on Friday nights, as well as a Sunday afternoon tilt versus South Carolina."
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, falling in the First Round to Miami (Ohio). Tennessee also outperformed preseason league expectations, finishing third in the SEC after it was picked to place 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 2012 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. Hannah Wilkinson was named an NSCAA third-team All-American. She and Ali Hall also earned All-SEC honors.
In 2012, Tennessee went 9-3-2 against teams it will face again this season.
Tennessee will get a strong test in the preseason when it takes on 2012 NCAA Elite Eight team Duke in an Aug. 16 exhibition in Durham, N.C. The Blue Devils went 15-6-2 last year and are a perennial women's soccer powerhouse. Duke is a familiar foe for Pensky as he went 2-3-3 against the Blue Devils when he was head coach at Maryland from 2005-11. In his last three years at Maryland, Pensky was 2-1-1 against Duke.
The Lady Vols' official start to the 2013 season is on Aug. 23 when they host First Tennessee Friday. Tennessee Tech will play Kennesaw State at 5 p.m. and UT will take on Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. The Sooners went 7-9-4 in 2012 but finished strong, going 3-2 in their final five games. Tennessee hits the road that same weekend, starting its away slate against Samford on Aug. 25 at 6 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala. Tennessee defeated Samford, 4-0, in the 2012 season opener in Knoxville.
UT heads south to Orlando, Fla., the following week for a road contest at Central Florida on Friday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. The Lady Vols return home on Sunday, Sept. 1, to host James Madison at 1 p.m. in their 2013 home opener. Tennessee is 14-3 all-time in home openers.
Tennessee next hosts a very talented Dayton team on Friday, Sept. 6. Dayton went 14-4-2 last season but graduated 2012 NSCAA All-American and leading scorer Colleen Williams. UT travels to Macon, Ga., to take on Mercer on Sunday, Sept. 8. The Bears went 13-5-3 in 2012 and have played in the Atlantic Sun championship game the last three years.
The team stays in the Volunteer State the next week with Friday, Sept. 13, game against Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro and a Sunday, Sept. 15, home match against Western Kentucky. MTSU went 14-5-1 but graduated its two NSCAA All-South Region stars, Paige Goeglein and Regina Thomas. Tennessee claimed a 4-1 win over WKU last season in Bowling Green, Ky.
Tennessee begins SEC play the following week at home against Texas A&M on Sept. 20. UT took a thrilling 1-0 upset of then-No. 9 Texas A&M on Oct. 19, 2012, in College Station, Texas, in the first-ever meeting between the teams. The Aggies went 19-4-1 last year, reached the NCAA Third Round and return 2012 NSCAA All-American Meghan Streight.
UT enjoyed one-goal victories in 2012 against its next three SEC opponents. Tennessee heads to Baton Rouge, La., to face LSU on Sept. 27. The Lady Vols claimed an exciting 3-2 overtime win over LSU on Oct. 14, 2012, in Knoxville when Wilkinson scored in the 96th minute. UT remains on the road that weekend, heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a Sept. 29 match against Alabama. Tennessee edged the Crimson Tide, 2-1, in on an overtime goal by Kylie Bono last year.
After an SEC weekend on the road, Tennessee gets an SEC weekend at home when it faces Mississippi on Friday, Oct. 4, and South Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 6. Wilkinson's 80th-minute goal lifted UT to a 2-1 win at Ole Miss in 2012. A Caroline Brown score in the 45th minute allowed Tennessee to edge South Carolina, 1-0, last season.
The Lady Vols open perhaps their toughest stretch of the schedule on Friday, Oct. 11, at Kentucky. From Oct. 11-27, UT will play four teams that qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament in a five-match stretch. Kentucky went 14-7-1 last season closed out the year in the NCAA Second Round. The Wildcats topped Tennessee in a 1-0 match in Knoxville in 2012.
On Friday, Oct. 18, Tennessee takes on Auburn at home. The Tigers went 13-11-1 last year and advanced to the NCAA Second Round. Tennessee took a 1-0 win over Auburn during the 2012 regular season and a scoreless tie in the SEC Tournament with the Tigers advancing on PKs. Two days later, UT plays Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. The Razorbacks edged UT, 1-0, last September in Knoxville.
Tennessee's final regular-season home match of the season is on Oct. 25 against reigning SEC regular season and SEC Tournament champion Florida. The Gators (19-5 in 2012) took a 2-1 win over UT in the rain on Sept. 21, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla.
UT closes out its regular season with two road matches. On Oct. 27, Tennessee makes a trip to Columbia, Mo., to face Missouri (14-7-1 in 2012) for the second time in program history. Last year, Tori Bailey's 58th-minute goal lifted UT to a 1-0 win over then-No. 11 Mizzou. Missouri fell in the NCAA First Round last year. The Lady Vols' regular-season finale is against Vanderbilt in Nashville on Thursday, Oct. 31. The teams tied 1-1 in 2012.
The 2013 SEC Tournament will be held Nov. 6-10 in Orange Beach, Ala. The NCAA Tournament starts in mid-November with First Round action from Nov. 15-17. The 2013 NCAA Women's College Cup will be held Dec. 6 and Dec. 8 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.