#41 Tennessee Women's Soccer 2014 Preview

Tennessee Volunteers

Overall Rank: #41
#7 SEC
#41 Tennessee Women's Soccer 2014 Preview
Tennessee Team Page


After back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012, it seemed likely that Tennessee would make it three in a row. However, wins were tough for Tennessee to come by in SEC play. Prior to their season finale win over Vanderbilt, Tennessee had not won a game since October 4th, losing or tying six in a row. That was not enough to make the SEC Tournament or even come close to the NCAAs. If the ball bounces right for the Volunteers in 2014, they have the talent and experience to start a new NCAA streak.

2013 Record: 8-7-4, 3-5-3
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Brian Pensky

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Hannah Wilkinson, Senior, F, 5
Assists: Hannah Wilkinson, Senior, F, 5
Shots: Hannah Wilkinson, Senior, F, 65
Saves: Julie Eckel, Senior, GK, 78

Other Key Returnees: M/F Cheyenne Spade, M Michele Christy, M/D Susan Ferguson, D Gabby Santorio, D Brittney Wade, D Allie Sirna

Key Losses: F Katie Lenz, M/F Caroline Brown, M/D Tori Bailey, D Megan Erskine, D Caroline Capocaccia

Keeper Julie Eckel is not coming off of her best season in the orange and white, allowing 21 goals and tallying a .788 save percentage. As a starting underclassman in 2011 and 2012, Eckel’s goal against average was under one and her save percentage was over .825. Expect numbers like that again in 2014. An influx of younger talent will join Gabby Santorio, Brittney Wade and Allie Sirna in front of Eckel. The youth movement is not just in the back though. Coach Brian Pensky has brought in 14 new players and this is one of the best recruiting classes in the country. Carlyn Baldwin, Anna Bialczak and Meaghan Mulligan are the most likely to make a big impact right away. Ariel Kupritz and Anna McClung, transfers from Miami and Florida State, respectively, will help bolster a surprisingly stagnant offense.

Hannah Wilkinson created very high expectations for herself following a great 2012 campaign. Scoring five goals and tallying five assists is not a bad season by any means, but Wilkinson will be asked to do more this season without Caroline Brown and Katie Lenz by her side. Brown led the team with eight goals and Lenz added three. Wilkinson is the only returning player who scored more than two goals. That will put a lot of pressure on Kupritz and McClung to immediately step in and start scoring goals.

Final Projection:
If Wilkinson ends up virtually on her own up front, Tennessee is not going to win many games. Of course the SEC is going to be difficult and the Volunteers also have games against Wisconsin, BYU and Virginia in non-conference play. If this group gets off to a slow start in non-conference play they may struggle to make up ground in the SEC. The good news, potentially, regarding the SEC schedule is that most of the toughest games are on the road. Tennessee would probably not be able to beat Texas A&M and Florida anywhere, so getting them on the road is not a bad thing. That gives the Volunteers seven very winnable SEC home games and they will need to win a healthy chunk of those games.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.32 (172nd in nation, 12th in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 1.055 (97, 5)
Shutout Percentage: 0.368 (95, 6)
Save Percentage: 0.802 (106, 3)

Madness 2014 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#41 Carlyn Baldwin
#51 Anna Bialczak


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