NCAA Div. I Women: Vols Beat #19 So. Carolina, Fall to #24 Penn State

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 11. THE University of Tennessee women's swimming and diving team split a pair of dual meets against nationally ranked opponents on Saturday by defeating SEC foe No. 19 South Carolina, 135-107, while falling to the No. 24 Penn State Nittany Lions 140-103.

Freshman Noelle Bassi (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) scorched the pool with a lifetime-best clocking of 1:59.28 in the 200y fly to provide one of the highlights of the meet for Tennessee. The time currently ranks 10th in the NCAA, is the fifth-fastest mark ever by a Lady Vol and ranks her as the third fastest 200y flyer in school history. With the victory, Bassi remains undefeated in the 200y fly during her collegiate career.

Another Lady Vol who recorded an impressive race in the 200y fly was freshman Graciela Breece-Rodriguez (Boulder, Colo.). Breece-Rodriguez recorded a lifetime-best 2:04.43 to grab third place overall. She also made a strong showing in the 200y IM, placing first against USC and second overall with a time of 2:05.16.

Freshman Jacque Fessel (Cincinnati, Ohio) turned in another big performance for the Orange and White as she claimed victory in the 200y back with a time of 2:02.22.

Freshman Danielle Lundy (Columbia, Md.) also turned in a lifetime best in the 200y breast with a time of 2:23.14 to lead a trio of Lady Vols that placed 1-2-3 against the Lady Gamecocks. Senior Nicole Brannock (Ellicott City, Md.) and junior Kristin Souppa (Napierville, Ill.) rounded out the fourth and fifth positions with times of 2:24.40 and 2:29.01, respectively.

Abbi Terveer, a freshman from Lima, Ohio, raced to first place against USC in the 50y free with a clocking of 24.18. Also swimming well for UT, senior Courtney Naparlo (Williamsburg, Va.) placed fourth with a 24.38, junior Taryn Ternent (Edenvale, South Africa) fifth with a 24.43 and sophomore Jessica Blevins (Bluefield, W. Va.) sixth with a 24.50. PSU's Deidre Diugonski won the event in 23.56.

Senior Bethany Hall (Knoxville, Tenn.) grabbed a fourth-place finish in the 200y free with a time of 1:52.88. In the 100y free, Hall also paced the Lady Vols with a fifth-place time of 52.79.

The Big Orange scored key points in the relay events, as the squad of Fessel, Lundy, Bassi and Hall claimed first against USC in the 400y medley relay with a time of 3:51.94. Close behind them, the Lady Vol quartet of freshman Randi Vogel (Maineville, Ohio), Brannock, freshman Tatiana Athayde (Rio do Janeiro, Brazil) and senior Sara Wingfield (Fort Pierce, Fla) clocked a time of 3:57.81. In the 400y free relay, UT took second against both USC and PSU as the team of Blevins, Naparlo, Ternent and Terveer clocked a 3:32.68.

Tennessee actually began the meet with a 29-9 advantage over Penn State and a 21-17 deficit to South Carolina because of diving points calculated with prelim scores from last week's Georgia Invitational. These points came thanks to sophomore Lauryn McCalley (Moultrie, Ga.) taking first place on the one-meter springboard and senior Jaime Sanger (Plymouth, Minn.) placing third on both the one- and three-meter boards. Scoring from Georgia was used in the dual meet because of the fact divers from each competing school were competing in the Speedo American Cup in Bloomington, Ind.

With the victory over USC, Tennessee improves to 3-0 in SEC Competition, while the loss to Penn State gives UT an overall dual-meet record of 4-1. The Orange and White now has a six-meet win streak against Carolina, while the Lady Gamecocks still hold a 9-12 edge in the all-time series. The was the first meeting between Tennessee and Penn State.

South Carolina falls to 3-3 (1-2 SEC) on the season, while Penn State picks up its first win after dropping its first two dual meets to No. 12 Virginia and No. 2 Florida.

The Lady Vols next compete when they travel to Evanston, Ill., for a meet against Northwestern on Saturday, Jan. 18.

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