After kicking off their season undefeated in their first five games, the fourth-ranked Lady Vols (5-0) look to keep up their success in a four team tournament at the University of South Florida this weekend.
Being as highly ranked as they are, the Lady Vols have yet to face any team ranked close to them. The Lady Vols' early wins this year came at The Red Desert Classic, a tournament in Utah which had teams from Southern Utah, Idaho State, Utah State, South Dakota and BYU.
That said, the Lady Vols gained confidence and learned from their play out in Utah.
"I just think we learned that we need to play together and come out and attack," senior Ivy Renfroe said. "Especially with our hitters, just come out and just go after it. I think we learned we can play together."
In Utah, Tennessee dominated their competition. They outscored their opponents by a combined 53-8 margin. The Lady Vols showcased their power, hitting 15 extra-base hits and seven home runs.
"There's a lot of keys to hitting with power. We've been working on that as a team and we did some things in the middle of the tournament out there to try to generate more power," Lady Vols co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "A lot of it has to do with pitching too. You have to have a good at bat, you have to get the right pitch and you have to be ready to take your cut when you get the right pitch."
The Lady Vols face a little bit stiffer competition in Florida facing ACC foe North Carolina State (4-0) and a No. 12 ranked South Florida Bulls team from the Big East.
"This weekend we're going to try to put the same kind of swings on the ball, but we're going to face some really good pitching down in Florida," Weekly said.
Tennessee's pitching also played a large part in their success in Utah. They surrendered only eight runs through five games. Junior Ellen Renfroe also pitched a no-hitter versus Utah State. The Lady Vols started four pitchers in the Red Desert Classic: Ivy and Ellen Renfroe, Cheyanne Durango and freshman Erin Gabriel.
Weekly expects them all to play a role at South Florida.
"I think all four are going to be key for us," she said. "They may not all four start different games, but they all four are going to have a place in different games and you may see a game where all four girls get in the game. That may happen down the road and we've prepared each of them for that. To go in, and go one time through the batting order and if that's what it takes, to give a team four different looks that's what we'll do."