Sept. 3, 2009
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Following a difficult weekend on the pitch at its annual First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic, the Tennessee Lady Vol soccer team (1-2-0) looks to bounce back during its initial road trip of the season to Minneapolis, Minn. Over Sept. 4 & 6, the Big Orange will battle Big Ten Conference foes No. 19 Minnesota (2-1-0) and Wisconsin (1-1-1) at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.
Kick-off versus the nationally-ranked Golden Gophers is slated for Friday at 8 p.m. ET, while UT faces the Badgers on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Live stats will be available for both Tennessee matches through utladyvols.com.
In the only previous meeting between the schools in Knoxville on Sept. 2, 2007, Tennessee downed Minnesota, 1-0, on a 26th minute goal by former Lady Vol Devon Swaim. Tennessee has never faced Wisconsin and enters this weekend holding a 4-2-1 record all-time against the Big Ten.
Despite a pair of tough one-goal defeats to Arizona State (2-3, 2OT) and Pepperdine (0-1) last weekend at Regal Soccer Stadium, several members of the Orange & White distinguished themselves. Sophomore forward Emily Dowd and freshman Jayden Barrett recorded their initial goals of the season against Arizona State, while for Barrett the tally marked the first of her UT career. Senior forward Mick Imgram continued her outstanding start to 2009 with a pair of assists, raising her team-leading point total to six through just three matches. Rookie defender Ali Hall recorded her first career assist, while Melissa Speros played well on defense, saving a pair of certain goals off the goal line during the weekend. Hall, Dowd and junior goalkeeper Molly Baird (nine saves) each reaped a selection to the 11-member all-tournament team.
The defending Big Ten regular-season co-champions, No. 19 Minnesota enters this weekend's action with a 2-1 record in tow including wins over South Dakota State (4-0) and Kennesaw State (1-0) and a road loss at No. 16 Georgia (0-2). Sixth year head coach Mikki Denney Wright welcomes back 12 letter-winners and five starters from last season's squad that posted a 22-4 record. Included among the returnees are UM's current leading scorer in junior forward/midfielder Katie Bethke (two goals) and junior forward/midfielder Molly Rouse (two assists). Between the pipes, it has been a fresh start for the Gophers as Cat Parkhill has christened her redshirt freshman campaign with a 0.67 goals-against-average (GAA), allowing just two goals and making three saves in 270 minutes of action.
Under the direction of third year head coach Paula Wilkins, Wisconsin prepares to face the Lady Vols with a 1-1-1 overall record, consisting of an overtime win against Wisconsin-Green Bay, a tie against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a 3-0 road loss at the hands of No. 3 Notre Dame. Despite averaging 16 shots per match, UW has tickled the twine just once thus far in 2009, with junior defender Taryn Francel scoring a "golden goal" during sudden-victory overtime against UW-Green Bay. In all, the Badgers have eight starters back from last year's 9-9-1 squad that finished 10th in the Big Ten. Included among the returnees are sophomore forward Laurie Nosbusch (seven goals, seven assists, 21 points in `08) and sophomore midfielder Erin Jacobsen (four goals, four assists, 12 points in `08). Much like its counterparts in Tennessee and Minnesota, the Badgers are also breaking in a new netminder. UW has played a pair between the pipes as junior Michelle Dalton is 0-1-1 in goal with 13 saves and a 1.35 GAA in 200 minutes of action. Sophomore Lauren Gunderson picked up a shutout victory in her lone start, making two saves in 103:44 during the double overtime triumph over UW-Green Bay.