Aug. 1, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -The Tennessee soccer team opened its 2012 preseason training camp at Regal Soccer Stadium on Wednesday, turning the page for a new chapter in program history under the direction of first-year head coach Brian Pensky.
Lightning in the Knoxville area delayed the start of practice until the late afternoon with a brief stoppage an hour in, but UT returned to the field to continue shaping a 2012 squad that looks to be even more successful than the 2011 team that went 15-7 with an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Pensky was the University of Maryland's head coach for seven seasons and the 2010 Soccer America National Coach of the Year. This preseason training camp will in a sense serve as proving grounds for the team as Pensky discovers who will step up as the leaders for 2012.
"I'm a believer in empowerment," Pensky said. "I'm the head coach and our coaching staff is the coaching staff, but we're trying to teach these kids how to be leaders, how to deal with life and how to work through difficult moments and work through some challenges among themselves. This group is going to find that they are going to have a lot of moments where they have got to make decisions and take ownership of this team. I think it's going to serve them well in the long run."
Big Orange fans can expect to see an aggressive attack this fall that has been a signature of Pensky's teams.
"We want to keep the ball on the field," he said. "Life is about scoring goals. This is about winning. You've got to score goals. People believe that defense wins championships. No disrespect to our goalkeepers and no disrespect to our defenders, but I want to score goals."
UT HAS 2 GAMES ON TV
The Southeastern Conference unveiled the 2012 women's soccer television schedule Wednesday afternoon. Tennessee will have two road games on television this fall.
UT's Oct. 7 match at Auburn at 2 p.m. ET will be shown on CSS. SportSouth will broadcast the Lady Vols' match at Ole Miss on Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. ET.
ECKEL WELCOMES NEW PLAYERS
Sophomore goalkeeper Julie Eckel, a 2011 Freshman All-SEC Team selection, is excited for her second season in Orange and White.
"I'm really excited to get to train with Joe Kirt again," Eckel said. "He's great. All of the new players coming in just puts a new perspective on what people can do with the ball and how their touches go. Having people with different abilities than what we had on the 2011 team is really exciting because it will give all of the goalkeepers a new look and help us get more prepared for the season."
As sisters two years apart in age, junior Caroline Capocaccia and freshman Suzanne Capocaccia have played on the same soccer team before. Caroline is thrilled to have her little sister in a matching uniform once again.
"It's really fun playing with her again," Caroline said. "In high school, I really didn't get to play with her that much because she got injured really quickly. I'm having a lot of fun just being around her all the time because I missed her a lot. We have a chemistry. Sometimes we argue, but it's really fun to play with her and have her around because she is kind of my best friend."
ROCKY TOP HURRICANE
Graduate student Ashlee Burt joins Tennessee this season after an undergrad career at the University of Miami. Burt, who is the daughter of former New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Jim Burt, Sr., is excited to continue her career at UT and in the SEC.
"The transition from Miami to Tennessee so far has been great," Burt said. "All of the girls are extremely welcoming and super nice and the coaches have been great too. It's just a great level of soccer and it has just been really fun. The campus is awesome and I'm looking forward to all of the things we have for this season. This seems like a great bunch of girls and I'm excited to get started."