Vols Looking to Keep the PressureOn Defensively Ahead of Tilt with Texas A&M
Tennessee’s defense has played a major role in the team’s early-season success and is full of confi dence heading into this Saturday’s national-ly-televised showdown versus Texas A&M fol-lowing its best all-around performance of the year in the win over South Carolina.The Vols dominated the line of scrimmage to the tune of eight tackles for loss and six sacks in their 41-20 victory against the Gamecocks. A major reason for that success has been the develop-ment of UT’s defensive line, which has proven to be one of the most im-proved units on the team through fi ve games this season. “Every year, you try to fi gure out where you can be better. That was an area that we knew we needed to improve on,” defensive coordina-tor Tim Banks said after Tuesday’s practice. “So yeah, we always feel confi dent that the things that we work on, we’re going to see some returns on it. Pass rush isn’t any different. Pass coverage isn’t any different. Those guys have really worked extremely hard in their crafts, and you guys are obviously seeing the fruits of their labor.” Banks and the Big Or-ange know they’ll need to keep playing at a high level as the competition improves throughout the season, starting with a talented and explosive offensive unit in Texas A&M this weekend.Despite an injury to start-ing quarterback Connor Weigman a few weeks ago, the Aggies’ offense hasn’t skipped a beat under backup Max John-son. The sophomore LSU transfer has thrown for over 200 yards in each of his two starts and is com-pleting nearly 61 percent of his passes on the year with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.“I mean, this kid is a veteran,” Banks said. “He’s extremely poised. They’re running their offense, and some of the plays that he’s made un-der duress just kind of speak to his confi dence and the confi dence they have in him as a quar-terback. I don’t think they’ve really missed a beat. I think that they’ve tried to play to his strengths. He’s a lefty, but at the end of the day, I think they’re very sim-ilar.” The Vols and Aggies are set to square off at 3:30 p.m. on CBS this Satur-day in front of another sold-out Neyland Stadium crowd.
Lady vols crack top 10 for first time since 2005. Move up to 10th!
Enjoying one of the best seasons in program his-tory, the Tennessee Lady Vols achieved a major milestone Monday, cracking into the top 10 of the AVCA rankings at No. 10 in the country. The last time the Big Orange accomplished that feat was in the final poll of the 2005 campaign, which saw the Lady Vols fi nish sixth overall following a Final Four run. The Big Orange currently boasts a 15-1 record—its best start since beginning 18-1 in 2004. The Lady Vols are a perfect 6-0 in confer-ence play so far, with the program’s best start ever in league play being 8-0 in 2004 and 2011. UT’s dominance has been on full display through the midway point of the season, sweeping foes in 12 of their 15 victories, including fi ve against SEC opponents and two against ranked teams. Tennessee is riding a 10-match winning streak, losing just two sets during the run. The Big Orange has won 28 of its last 29 sets played. The Lady Vols’ success this season has been a direct result of the team’s high-powered offense, which is one of the best in the nation. UT cur-rently ranks inside the top 10 in the country in four different catego-ries—highlighted by an NCAA-leading 14.89 kills per set. Tennessee is third nationally in assists per set (13.64) as well as hitting percentage (.318)—both of which lead the SEC. The team is eighth overall and second in the league in aces per set (2.11). As it stands, all four of those categories would be new Tennessee records during the 25-point rally scoring era. Up next, Tennessee con-tinues its homestretch with a pair of top-25 matches at Food City Center next weekend. The Lady Vols kick things off Friday against No. 22 Auburn at 6:30 p.m. UT then hosts the No. 23 Kentucky Wild-cats on Sunday for a 5 p.m. first serve.
Tickets are available for both contests at www.AllVols.com
Swim and Dive hosts Louisville, in home opener
Tennessee swimming & diving is set to kick-off their home slate on Thursday with a dual meet against Louis-ville at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center. Thursday’s meet will be in Long Course Meters (LCM), which is standard for the Olympics and all world events. In the coming weeks, several mem-bers of the UT program will compete in the Pan American Games. The meet begins at 2 p.m. Attendance is free to the public, however fans should be aware of UT’s clear bag policy as well as the use of metal detectors upon entry. The dual will also be streamed on SEC Network+, and there will be live stats available on Meet Mobile for fans not able to attend. UT competed in an exhibi-tion dual meet at UNC Wilmington last week-end. The trip also includ-ed an open water compe-tition and was a part of Tennessee’s annual trip to the Carolina coast.Tennessee and Louis-ville have met in the pool for the last two seasons. Last year, the Lady Vols defeated the Cardinals, while the men fell. Overall, Tennessee’s women hold a 15-4 tally over UofL in dual meets, while the men own a 13-4-1 record.
Holden earns top 5 finish at Tar Heel Invitational
Tennessee senior Kayla Holden shot a career-low 210 to place fi fth at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational on Tuesday. Spearheaded by her career-best 67 in round two on Monday, it is the first top-fi e finish of her collegiate career. The Lady Vols shot 12-over (876) as a team, finishing 7th of 14 teams at the tournament, which was hosted at Gover-nors Club. Sophomore Manassanan Chotik-abhukkana fi nished tied for 12th place with a score of even-par, thanks to a 2-under posted in the third and fi nal round on Tuesday. Her 54-hole score of 216 was the lowest of the season the fifth-lowest of her young career. Tennessee was one of fi ve schools to have two golfers place in the top 15. Freshman Martina Lopez-Lanchares shined in her fi rst collegiate tournament, notching scores of 69 and 73 in rounds two and three, respectively. Competing as an individual, her cu-mulative score of 6-over was tied for 29th best of 80 total participants. Lady Vols Bailey Davis and Vanessa Gilly fi nished tied for 49th at 11-over. Davis used a bogey-free front nine in round two to shoot even-par. After a shaky start to round three, Gilly recovered by log-ging birdies in three of her last six holes to get back to 4-over. Soph-omore Angela Arora rounded out the lineup for the Lady Vols, fi n-ishing T-60 at 13-over.