Aug. 5, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee soccer team is now one full week into its preseason training camp and, despite some rain and lightning delays, the players are making great progress in head coach Brian Pensky’s system.
Sunday marked Day 5 of camp with the team doing positional work in the morning and its first 11-on-11 drill of the summer in the afternoon. Overall, Pensky and his staff are pleased with the team’s continued hard work and improvement.
"I think we’re in a good place," Pensky said. "We just finished an afternoon session of 11v11. Unfortunately, we got cut a little bit short. For the most part we’re healthy. One objective I have coming out of preseason is that our bodies are fit and we’re healthy and we’re ready start what is a 20-game pretty rigorous schedule. After Day 5, I don’t think that we could feel any better to be honest."
After getting the team acclimated to how practice will run, Pensky aims to feature more split-squad playing in the second week.
"I think we did some teaching this week in terms of some attacking stuff," he said. "As we go towards next week, we’ve got to let them play a little bit more, whether it’s small-sided or bigger 11v11 stuff, and then we’ll start to focus on our team shape defensively."
BONO IS LEADING SET PIECE CANDIDATE
Although the team has not worked on corner kicks or free kicks yet, Pensky mentioned that senior midfielder Kylie Bono is the top candidate for that role.
"In the springtime, Kylie Bono hit some corners," Pensky said. "She hits a very good ball. She hits a very good free kick and a very good dead ball. In those spring games, we actually scored two or three goals off those corner kicks and restart type of balls. Right now, going into it, it’ll be Bono. But that’s something we will work on more as we get closer to our first game."
Bono ranked fourth on the team in 2011 with 17 corner kicks. 2012 graduate Emily Shore paced the team last year with 94 corners.
TEAM CHEMISTRY BREWING
Speaking of Bono, the Yorba Linda, Calif., native noted that the first week of practice has helped the team to grow into a tighter-knit bunch.
"I think everything is going really good right now," she said. "We’re clicking as a team. Usually in the beginning, it’s hard to gel because we have so many new freshmen and we have three transfers coming. I think as a whole we’re doing really good through the first week of camp."
2 ALUMS IN OLYMPIC SEMIS
On Monday, Tennessee alums Rhian Wilkinson and Marie-Eve Nault will face their toughest test in the 2012 Olympics as their Canadian squad takes on the United States in the semifinal round.
The game starts at 2:45 p.m. ET and fans can watch it live on the NBC Sports Network or online at NBCOlympics.com, here.