Nov. 5, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 20/25 Tennessee soccer team is going back to the NCAA Tournament as the Lady Vols received their 10th NCAA Tournament bid in the program's 17-year history on Monday. UT will host its first-round match on Sunday, Nov. 11, when the Lady Vols take on No. 24 Miami of Ohio at 2 p.m.
"Only 64 teams get to play in this national tournament and we're just excited to be a part of it," Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky said. "We don't know much about Miami of Ohio other than they won they conference and they won a lot of games. They only lost two games this season. I think they have a pretty high-powered offense and we're going to have our hands full. We'll be excited, our kids will be excited and certainly to get to play and host in front of our fans is big-time."
The news was announced on Monday's NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Selection Show, which the Tennessee coaches, student-athletes and staff watched together in the Regal Soccer Stadium video room after practice.
No. 20/25 Tennessee is 9-1-1 all-time when hosting NCAA Tournament matches. The Lady Vols have advanced in every NCAA Tournament match they have hosted except for one - last season's 3-0 loss to Ohio State on Nov. 12, 2011. UT has outscored its opponents, 19-4, in NCAA Tournament contests held in Knoxville.
No. 24 Miami of Ohio (19-2-1, 10-0-1 MAC) won the MAC Tournament for the fourth time in program history on Sunday, defeating Central Michigan, 2-1, at Miami Soccer Field. The Redhawks are a high-power scoring team, averaging 2.55 goals per match. They have five players with at least eight goals and six assists, led by Jess Kodiak, whose 12 goals and 11 assists lead the team.
Tennessee enjoyed a strong regular season, finishing third in the SEC and second in the Eastern Division. In the Preseason SEC Coaches' Poll, the Lady Vols were picked to finish 11th in the league and sixth in the Eastern Division.
"We're ready to take on Miami of Ohio and we're just ready for anything," senior midfielder and team captain Amy Harrison said. "We are really excited as a group."
Tennessee is coming off a 0-0 draw against Auburn on Oct. 31 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. Auburn advanced on penalty kicks, 5-3.
Sophomore forward Hannah Wilkinson and senior center back Ali Hall garnered All-SEC honors. Wilkinson leads the team with eight goals and 17 points, despite playing in just 15 of UT's 21 matches this season. Hall has been the leader of an elite Tennessee defense that has posted 11 shutouts and set the program record for longest shutout streak at 533:22 earlier this season.
For tickets to Sunday's NCAA first-round match, call the UT ticket office at 865-656-1200 or 1-800-322-VOLS.