Aug. 12, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee women's soccer team earned a No. 13 ranking in the initial poll of the 2008 season on Tuesday. The Lady Vols improved one spot from the final National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA)/adidas poll of 2007. UT ended its season with a loss to No. 2 Portland in the NCAA Sweet 16.
During a record-breaking season in 2007, the Orange and White posted a 15-5-2 overall record after getting off to its best start in program history at 7-1-1. Tennessee achieved its highest ever ranking in the NSCAA/adidas poll at No. 6 on Oct. 2 following back-to-back wins over No. 12 South Carolina and No. 15 Florida to open Southeastern Conference play.
The Lady Vols were in the SEC Eastern Division and overall title races until the final match of the regular season and earned a No. 3 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. UT played host to Furman, topping the Lady Paladins, 2-0, before downing Clemson, 1-0, in overtime in the second round.
Tennessee returns eight of its starters from 2007, including a senior class featuring forward Kylee Rossi and goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson. Rossi was the 2007 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, while Johnson became the program's third NSCAA All-American.
Rossi enters the season with 75 career points, just 14 away from eclipsing former Lady Vol Rhian Wilkinson's career record. The Pennington, N.J., native continued her development into one of the top scorers in program history, setting new career records for goals, shots, game winners and golden goals in 2007. Rossi became the first player in program history to lead the team in scoring for three consecutive years.
Johnson set a new UT standard for saves in a season, making 111 in her 22 starts. The Dayton, Ohio, native recorded 10 solo shutouts while being named to the All-SEC First Team. In the NCAA Tournament loss to Portland, Johnson recorded a career-high 12 saves after facing 28 Pilots' shots.
The Orange and White also welcome seven true freshmen and four redshirt freshmen to the squad. Head Coach Angela Kelly will look to combine the energy of 16 underclassmen with the experience of her veteran juniors and seniors.
The poll includes two other conference teams in 2007 SEC Triple Crown winner Florida, ranked 20th, and 18th-ranked Georgia. Defending champion Southern California is ranked first, while runners up Florida State earned the No. 4 ranking behind UCLA and North Carolina, respectively. Notre Dame rounds out the top five in the poll.
Tennessee will face off against seven teams which reached the 2007 NCAA Tournament this year, including 18-time national champion North Carolina. The Lady Vols open the season on Friday, Aug. 22 at Chattanooga at 7 p.m.
2008 NSCAA/adidas Division I Preseason Poll