While most Tennessee fans have their eyes on the football team in the fall, they may be missing out on the success of the other fall sports going on at Tennessee.
The Tennessee soccer, volleyball and cross country teams have each exceeded expectations this season, and all on their way to making it to the postseason.
After finishing the regular season with a 13-2-2 record, the Tennessee soccer team enters the SEC Tournament this week as the No. 2 seed. The Lady Vols have had multiple obstacles throughout the season, most notably having leading scorer Bunny Shaw for just 10 games as she was leading Jamaica to their first ever World Cup appearance. They have overcome these obstacles, though, and sit at No. 8 in the RPI.
Shaw scored 10 goals in her 10 matches and was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year. The Lady Vols had five players, Shaw, Maya Neal, Erin Gilroy, Katie Cousins and MA Vignola, that made the All-SEC teams. The Lady Vols are led by their defense, which has given up just nine goals this season in their 17 games. Tennessee will most likely host first and second round NCAA Tournament matches.
The surprise team of the fall for Tennessee has been the Lady Vols volleyball team, led by first-year coach Eve Rackham. The Lady Vols are currently 18-5 and 9-2 in the SEC, winning their last four matches. Tennessee is coming off of a win over Georgia where it was down two sets to zero before winning three straight sets. The Lady Vols currently sit at fourth place in the SEC.
Rackham took over a team that went 12-15 last season and just 5-13 in the conference. With the coaching of Rackham, the Lady Vols have defeated two top 25 teams on the season. The team is led by senior Erica Treiber and junior Tessa Grubbs, but freshmen have also stepped up, including Lily Felts and Rocky Perinar.
In the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll, the Lady Vols came in at No. 25.
The Tennessee cross country teams are coming off impressive showings in the SEC Championships at Auburn, Ala. The women’s team took seventh place while the men took fourth. The women were led by freshmen Katie Thronson, who took 14th, while the men were led by sophomore Alex Crigger and freshman Karl Thiessen.
The women’s team is led by Thronson, who placed in the top five in the four events and won SEC Freshman Runner of the Week twice. The men are led by senior Zach Long. After not running in the first race of the season, Long opened his season up by winning the Pre-SEC Meet at Auburn. Long has also won SEC Runner of the Week.
The team travels to Tallahassee, Fla., on Nov. 9 to race in the NCAA South Region Championships, as they attempt to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Madison, WI., on Nov. 17.
So, while the football team is struggling this season, Tennessee fans still have plenty to watch out for in the next month, as these three teams attempt to make runs in their sports postseason.