Aug. 9, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee soccer team continues to make forward progress with each day of training camp. Retention of information from practice-to-practice has been a major plus as the identity of this year's team begins to take shape.
Head coach Brian Pensky said that Friday's morning practice was "very technical in nature." The team worked on changes of direction and 1v1 moves before concluding practice with finishing drills in the box.
"It was crisp, it was clean and their effort and minds were in a great place," Pensky said. "We were down a few bodies because of today's exams for summer school and a couple of kids were off taking finals and things like that. It was a still a great, crisp technical session."
One of the big cornerstones of Pensky's program has been the cerebral part of the game. With the various drills and scenarios that the coaches create, such as Wednesday night's work with finding seams and different angles, the idea is to develop players who can operate intelligently in space while anticipating the result of the next pass or shot.
At the same time, the coaches have also featured a good amount of team play in practice to get an assessment of the roster, nearly half of which is completely new from last season.
"Out of these first three days, we've wanted to play a decent amount where we could watch and see what kids have done over the summer and see how the freshmen look and see how prepared they are to help right away," Pensky said.
FEELING AT HOME
With 15 newcomers and 13 freshmen on the roster, the 2013 team will certainly have a different chemistry from last year's squad.
Freshman Emily Morrow has enjoyed her first few days out on the practice field, acclimating to her new teammates and the college game.
"It's been great," Morrow said. "I really love it here. The girls have been welcoming. The tempo of the game is a lot faster but it's awesome because of the touches on the ball are getting increasingly better."
Morrow said that the veterans have been great at helping all of the new players adjust to their new surroundings. She noted that senior CC Cobb, who was a newcomer in 2012 after transferring from Florida State, has been a nice guiding presence. "CC has been very welcoming," Morrow said. "She's very funny and has done a good job of making us feel welcome."
MEET AND GREET TOMORROW!
The Tennessee soccer team will host its annual Meet and Greet with the fans on Saturday at 5 p.m. and play an intra-squad scrimmage at 7 p.m. Admission is free and there will be opportunities to win prizes.
Pensky is looking forward to the chance for the players and coaches to interact with the Tennessee fan base at Regal Soccer Stadium.
"We're very hopeful that we're going to have a good crowd out here," he said. "Bottom line, I want our players to connect with all of the kids who come out and support them and say hello to them. It's a total win-win for our players to have the opportunity to be any sort of a role model - our kids our lucky to have that opportunity. Then for the little kids that may come out, I think they're also fortunate to get to spend some time with our players, who have spent a lifetime committing to this sport and committing to being great."