Oct. 16, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee women's soccer team hits the road for its first trip in two weeks, traveling to Ole Miss and Mississippi State this weekend. The Lady Vols will meet the Rebels on Friday night at 7 p.m. CT before taking on the Bulldogs on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
The Orange and White enters the fourth week of conference play with a 6-8-0 overall record and a 3-3-0 mark in the SEC, good for fourth place in the East. Tennessee split its two matches last weekend, earning a 3-2 victory over Kentucky before falling to Vanderbilt, 1-0. The Lady Vols went 3-1-0 during their season-long four-game homestand and are now 5-2-0 at home this season.
UT will look to bounce back this weekend against the Rebels and Bulldogs. The Big Orange is a combined 15-5-1 all-time against the two Mississippi schools, winning four of the last five matches against each of the teams. The Orange and White will seek to continue its success away from home during October, a month in which it has compiled a 15-4-2 road mark over the last five years.
Senior forward Kylee Rossi leads the squad with 21 points on 10 goals and one assist. After notching at least one point in two of the last three matches, sophomore forward Devon Swaim has moved into second on the team with six points. Swaim dished out two assists in the Oct. 10 win over Kentucky.
Though senior keeper Jaimel Johnson has allowed 19 goals this year, she still boasts at 1.38 goals against average and three solo shutouts. The Dayton, Ohio, native and the Lady Vol defense has allowed more than two goals just once this season.
Ole Miss is 5-7-2 overall and 3-3-0 in conference play and is coming off back-to-back losses at South Carolina and Florida last week. UM will play at home for the first time since Sept. 26. In the last meeting between the Rebels and Lady Vols, UT came away with a 2-0 victory on Oct. 19, 2007 in Knoxville.
The Bulldogs enter the weekend with a 5-10-0 overall record and remains winless in the SEC. MSU's last win came on Sept. 21 at Southern Mississippi. Last year's matchup between Mississippi State and UT resulted in a 4-0 victory for the Big Orange. The Lady Vols will be looking for redemption, however, after falling to the Bulldogs on their last trip to Starkville during the 2006 campaign. MSU plays host to Georgia on Friday night.
Tennessee opens the weekend in Oxford, Miss., at Ole Miss Soccer Stadium on Friday night before traveling to Starkville, Miss., to meet the Bulldogs at MSU Soccer Field on Sunday afternoon. Live statistics for both matches will be available at utladyvols.com.
Lady Vols Split Third Weekend of SEC Play
Tennessee opened the third week of conference play with an exciting 3-2 victory over Kentucky that saw senior forward Kylee Rossi notch two goals on the night. The win extended Rossi's goal-scoring streak to seven matches, while the Lady Vols put together three consecutive wins for the first time this season. Rossi's streak tied her for the most consecutive games with a goal at UT. Sophomore forward Devon Swaim dished out two helpers on the night, marking the first two-assist match of her career.
The UT win streak was short-lived, however, as Vanderbilt topped the Orange and White, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon. The loss marked the first to the Commodores since 2005 and Tennessee's second at home this season. The Lady Vols were shut out for the fifth time this year.
Rossi Named to National Team of the Week
Kylee Rossi was named to the National Team of the Week by Top Drawer Soccer on Oct. 13. The selection comes after the senior forward notched two goals in the Lady Vols' win over Kentucky on Oct. 10.
In the 3-2 victory over the Wildcats, Rossi opened the scoring just 10 minutes into the match, and notched another goal in the second half. The match marked her second two-goal effort of the season and her first since the opener on Aug. 22.
Rossi tied for the team lead with nine shots on the weekend. She now sits at 40 goals and 96 points in her career, both program records. Following her weekend performance, Rossi is now just two goals away from matching her career-high of 12 set last season. She is also well on her way to becoming the only player to lead the team in scoring in each of their four seasons in the Orange and White.
Reading the Rebels
Ole Miss enters Friday's match with a 5-7-2 overall record and a 3-3-0 mark in SEC play. The Rebels are currently tied for third in the Western Division after posting back-to-back losses last weekend. UM is 3-3-0 at home so far this year, but is returning from a four-match road swing.
The trio of senior midfielder Jennifer Hance, sophomore forward Taylor Cunningham and junior forward Hannah Weatherly has shouldered the brunt of the offensive load this season for Ole Miss. Hance leads the squad with six goals and 13 points, while Cunningham and Weatherly have added nine and eight points, respectively. Junior defender Mallory Coleman has dished out four assists on the year, good for the team lead.
Senior keeper Megan Vickery has seen a majority of time in goal for the Rebels, playing nearly 900 minutes so far. Sophomore Jackie DeNova has also seen action in four games this year, while freshman keeper Alley Ronaldi made the start and played the full match in UM's late 3-2 loss to South Carolina on Oct. 12. Vickery has posted a 1.11 goals against average while putting together a 4-4-1 record this year.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with the Rebels with a 7-3-1 record. In their last meeting, the Lady Vols earned a 2-0 victory at Regal Stadium on Oct. 19, 2007. UT has taken four of the last five, however, the last time the two teams met in Oxford they played to a 1-1 draw. The Big Orange is undefeated all-time at UM.
Steve Holeman is in his 14th season at the helm for the Rebels, compiling a 138-103-23 record with the squad. He last led Ole Miss to the NCAA Tournament in 2005.
Mulling Mississippi State
The Bulldogs come into the fourth week of SEC play with a 5-10-0 record and have yet to post a win during the conference season. MSU will be looking to snap a six-match losing streak that included losses at South Carolina and Florida last weekend.
Senior midfielder Kevyn Shelledy leads the Bulldogs in scoring with eight points on three goals and two assists. Junior forward Katelyn Graben joins Shelledy at the top of the Mississippi State stat sheet, posting five points on the year.
Junior goalkeeper Taryn Holland has played every minute in between the pipes for the Bulldogs this season. Holland has faced 227 shots this year and leads the league with 94 saves. The Franklin, Tenn., native enters the weekend with a 1.79 goals against average and three shutouts on the year.
UT holds an 8-2-0 record all-time against the Bulldogs, winning four of the last five meetings between the two teams. Last season, the Lady Vols downed MSU, 4-0, at Regal Stadium. Mississippi State's last win in the series came during the 2006 campaign, when it topped Tennessee, 3-2, in Starkville, marking UT's only loss in program history at MSU.
Bulldog Head Coach Neil Macdonald is in his fifth season at Mississippi State. The Inverness, Scotland, native has compiled a 21-48-8 record with MSU. He is 1-3-0 against Tennessee.
Pick of the Litter
Assistant Coach Keeley Dowling was selected as the first pick of the second round in the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) draft on Oct. 6. The former Lady Vol All-American was chosen as the eighth overall pick by the New Jersey/New York franchise, Sky Blue FC. The inaugural season of the WPS, which represents the highest level of women's professional soccer in the United States, is scheduled to begin in April 2009.
The 2005 Tennessee graduate last played professionally in Örebro, Sweden from 2006-07, after spending a season with the Charlotte Lady Eagles of the W-League. During her time with KIF Örebro, Dowling played against former U.S. National Team member Tiffeny Milbrett and 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year, Marta, of Brazil.
Last April, Dowling signed a contract with the U.S. Women's National Team. The contract guarantees the Carmel, Ind., native an opportunity to compete for a roster spot whenever the team plays. Dowling won gold medals at the 2004 Nordic Cup with the Under-21 National Team and with the Under-19 National Team at the 2002 World Championships.
During her playing days at Tennessee, Dowling was the Lady Vols' first National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American, earning three selections including two to the first team in 2003 and 2004. The defender was a two-time Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and helped UT to its first NCAA Tournament appearance, as well as its initial NCAA Sweet 16 berth, SEC Tournament Championship and SEC Triple Crown.
Dowling joins a Sky Blue FC roster that includes fellow draft selections goalkeeper Cori Alexander, midfielder Kacey White and defender Jenny Anderson-Hammond, as well as 2008 U.S. Olympic gold medalists Natasha Kai, Christie Rampone and Heather O'Reilly. Three players on the roster were members of NCAA National Championship teams during their college careers, while 10 have earned at least one cap with their home country's full national team.
Kylee Rossi continued to solidify her place as the most prolific scorer in Tennessee women's soccer history last week. The senior forward helped lead the Orange and White to back-to-back victories last week, while setting a new record for career points at UT. Rossi totaled five points in wins over then-No. 15 LSU and Arkansas, scoring two goals and dishing out one assist. In Friday's 2-1 victory over the Tigers, the Pennington, N.J., native scored her 37th career goal and 14th career game winner to move past former Lady Vol Rhian Wilkinson to the top of Tennessee's career points list. Friday's game winner pushed Rossi to 89 career points, surpassing Wilkinson's record of 88 set in 2003.
In a 2-0 win over Arkansas on Sunday, Tennessee's leading scorer added to her weekend résumé. First, the senior dished the ball to sophomore forward Devon Swaim who scored from close range to put the Orange and White on the board in the 49th minute with the eventual game winner. Then, 13 minutes later, Rossi changed her role, this time receiving a ball in the box from junior midfielder Mick Imgram in the box to score the insurance goal for UT.
With a goal and an assist on Sunday, Rossi posted a season-high of three points in the match while continuing to add to her new record. Her eight goals this year rank first in the Southeastern Conference, while her 17 points put her in a tie for the top spot in that category.
Following the weekend performance, Rossi is now Tennessee's career record holder in points (92), goals (38), shots (304), game winners (14) and golden goals (4). The two wins marked the first back-to-back victories of the season for the Lady Vols who have now won 13 of their last 14 matches at home. UT has allowed just two goals in the last 11 matches at home and is 4-1-0 at Regal Stadium in 2008.
On the heels of her record-breaking weekend performance on the pitch Rossi was named the Lady Vol Athlete of the Week and earned a spot on the Soccer Buzz National Elite Team of the Week.
Rebounding Wins Championships
Though they dropped both matches in the opening weekend of SEC play, the Lady Vols can take heart in the fact that two losses to open the conference slate do not always lead to an unsuccessful SEC season. In 2007, Florida opened the league slate with losses to Georgia and Tennessee before winning its final nine matches in conference and taking home the SEC East and regular season titles. The Gators finished with a 9-2-0 record and capped the season with their eighth conference tournament championship and third SEC Triple Crown.
The Orange and White will play two of the final five matches of the regular season at home, where it is 13-2 in the last 15 matches. The Lady Vols will take on Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn on the road in October, a month that has seen them go 15-4-2 when playing away from home over the past five years.