No. 1 Tennessee opens its 2014 season this weekend with games against Northern Colorado, Georgia Southern and Oakland in the Eagle Round Robin Tournament in Statesboro, Ga. UT's season opener is against Northern Colorado on Friday, Feb. 7, at 3 p.m. ET.
On Saturday, UT plays two back-to-back games, facing Northern Colorado at noon ET and host Georgia Southern at 2 p.m. ET. The Lady Vols close the weekend on Sunday with an 11:30 a.m. ET game against Oakland.
There will be a free live audio broadcast for all four games this weekend through UTSports.com. GSEagles.com will host live stats for each game and the Tennessee-Georgia Southern game on Saturday will feature live video for a fee of $5.95 for a 24-hour viewing pass.
Tennessee starts the season at No. 1 in both the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll for the first time in program history.
The Lady Vols enjoyed one of their finest seasons in program history in 2013, finishing as the national runner-up, making their sixth Women's College World Series appearance in nine years and posting their eighth 50-win season with a final record of 52-12. Several Lady Vols garnered prestigious conference and national honors during the team's record-breaking run to Oklahoma City.
UT returns five positional starters and three pitchers from last year's staff, including a 2013 ace in Ellen Renfroe. The 2014 team's talent and depth across the board point to another successful campaign and several new faces are expected make an immediate impact at the plate, in the batter's box and in the circle.
In 2014, Tennessee returns 11 talented veterans from its Championship Series squad, including All-American seniors Ellen Renfroe (2011, 2012) and Madison Shipman (2012, 2013). Both Renfroe and Shipman were named to the "Watch List" for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award and the Preseason All-SEC Team. The team also welcomes seven exciting newcomers who will help bolster a roster built for a postseason run.
SEC coaches picked Tennessee to finish second in the conference in the league's annual preseason poll.
Tennessee is 11-7 all-time in season openers and 9-3 under the direction of the Weeklys in the first game of the year.
UT previously played Northern Colorado in the 2009 season opener, winning 10-5 (5) at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah.
Tennessee had its biggest season-opening win ever in 2013, defeating Southern Utah, 18-3 (5).
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