#24 Tennessee Women's Soccer 2013 Preview

Tennessee Lady Volunteers

Overall Rank: #24
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
#24 Tennessee Women's Soccer 2013 Preview
Tennessee Team Page


Tennessee’s 2012 campaign ended a little earlier than hoped. The Lady Vols fell at home to Miami (OH) 3-2 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Despite the tough overtime loss that concluded the season, Tennessee surpassed expectations by finishing 9-3-1 in the SEC. This was a team that had questions all over the pitch. First year Coach Brian Pensky had answers for all of those concerns and now year two could be even better.

2012 Record: 14-5-3, 9-3-1
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Brian Pensky

The defense was spectacular throughout the entire season, ranking 15th in the country in goals against average. To start the season they allowed just one goal in their first six games. That included a scoreless stretch of over 530 minutes that set a new school record. The defense does lose Ali Hall, an All-Conference honoree, but just about everybody else is back. Tori Bailey and Allie Sirna will be the latest stars of the defense and Brittney Wade and Caroline Capocaccia are returning starters. Tennessee also adds Megan Erskine, who played at San Diego State in 2010 and was a junior college All-American in 2011. Keeper Julie Eckel was not the busiest keeper in the SEC, but she was always ready. After totaling 17 shutouts during her first two years between the pipes, the junior will have another great year. Up front the Lady Vols will once again rely on Hannah Wilkinson and Caroline Brown. Wilkinson netted eight goals, while Brown was usually setting her up. She tallied seven assists and found the back of the net five times. Wilkinson is one of the best finishers in the conference and that will not change now that she is an upperclassman.

The potential problem is the support for Wilkinson and Brown. In 2012 Kylie Bono, Amy Harrison, Ivana Moore and Alexis Owens provided much of it and they are gone now. Bono netted five goals and dished out six assist, while Harrison was second to only Wilkinson with six goals. Last year the opposition could not focus too much on Wilkinson or others would make them pay. If that is to be the case again, the Lady Vols will need CC Cobb and Katie Lenz to have good senior seasons. Cobb, who started ten contests in 2012, is a very good playmaker who is not afraid to fire away some shots from her midfield spot. Lenz, like Cobb, totaled one goal and five assists last season and will likely find a starting spot beside Wilkinson.

Final Projection:
Tennessee will hope to build off of their success, but there are some pieces that need to be filled and nobody will be looking past this group anymore. Coach Pensky has quickly built something very good in Knoxville and 2013 could either be the year that the program takes the next step or the year they fall back to mediocrity. At this point there is too much talent returning to think the Lady Vols will take much of a step back. This is an NCAA Tournament team with a stellar defense and a couple stars up front. If the pieces fill in effectively around Wilkinson and Brown, a tournament run should be expected.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Hannah Wilkinson, Junior, F, 8
Assists: Caroline Brown, Senior, M/F, 7
Shots: Hannah Wilkinson, Junior, F, 50
Saves: Julie Eckel, Junior, GK, 71

Madness 2013 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#149 Madeline Fancher


See All Women's Soccer Top 44 Team Previews