Oct. 22, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After scoring a pair of game-winners this past weekend against No. 9 Texas A&M and Ole Miss, sophomore forward Hannah Wilkinson has garnered Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Sophomore goalkeeper Julie Eckelwas named SEC Defensive Player of the Week.
Tennessee (13-4-2, 8-3-1 SEC) enjoyed one of its finest weekends of the season, toppling No. 9 Texas A&M, 1-0, in College Station, Texas, and rallying in Oxford, Miss., for a 2-1 victory over Ole Miss.
Wilkinson played 162 minutes this weekend. She scored exactly 10 minutes into UT's Friday match at Texas A&M. After corralling a pass from CC Cobb near the midfield circle, Wilkinson took the ball to the right side of the box and fired from about 10 yards out. She split the Aggies' goalkeeper and one defender to find the middle of the net for her sixth career goal. On Sunday, with the game knotted at 1-1 in the 80th minute, Alexis Owensmade a smart pass from deep in the box to a wide-open Wilkinson about eight yards out. The Whangarei, New Zealand, native fired a shot to the lower right corner of the goal to give UT the 2-1 advantage.
On the year, Wilkinson leads the team with seven goals, 15 points and four game-winners, despite playing in only 13 of Tennessee's 19 contests.
Wilkinson is the third UT player to earn Top Drawer Soccer Team of The Week honors this season. Amy Harrison was named Top Drawer Soccer's College Player of the Week on Aug. 20 and Allie Sirnaearned a spot on the Team of the Week on Aug. 27.
Wilkinson is also UT's second SEC Offensive Player of the Week this season. Harrison earned the top offensive honors on Aug. 20.
Eckel had a dominant weekend in goal, playing the full 180 minutes, to earn the first SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors of her career. The No. 9 Aggies fired 23 shots on Friday, eight more than any other UT opponent has taken this season. The Cordova, Tenn., native was brilliant that night, making a career-high 11 saves while shutting out one of the strongest attacks in the SEC. On Sunday, Eckel made four saves and kept the Rebels at bay for the final 82 minutes of the game to allow UT to rally for a 2-1 road win.
Eckel is UT's second SEC Defensive Player of the Week in 2012. Ali Hallwas tabbed for the honors on Oct. 8.
Wilkinson's and Eckel's SEC weekly nods mark just the second time in school history that two Tennessee players have received SEC weekly honors for the same week. The last time it happened was on Oct. 31, 2005, when Ali Christoph received Offensive Player of the Week and Vanessa Phillips-Bosshart received Defensive Player of the Week
The Lady Vols return to Regal Soccer Stadium for their regular season home finale against Georgia Thursday. It is UT's Goal Pink game and Tennessee will celebrate Senior Night. Fans who wear pink will be admitted for free. The first 350 students who attend will receive a free neon orange Retro Rocky Top hat and the first 250 fans will receive free burritos and chips from Moe's.