Lady Vols expect the best from Georgia

There will be added amps of electricity in the air at Lee Stadium when Tennessee hosts a softball doubleheader with Georgia today.

To suggest the Lady Vols (27-8, 9-5 SEC) are mere border-state rivals with the Bulldogs (29-7, 8-4) does not do the series justice.

There's a fiery history of competitive play between the traditional powers, and it's likely tonight's two games (TV: CSS, 5 p.m.) won't play out differently.

In addition to second place in the SEC East Division being on the line — Georgia owns the tiebreak via percentage points — there's the simple fact that these teams hate to lose to one another.

UT co-head coach Karen Weekly said it's always a battle for the Lady Vols when they face off with grizzled veteran coach Lu-Harris Champer.

"Georgia is always a very tough opponent," Weekly said. "They have a little more speed in their lineup this season to go with a lot of their returning power.

"We're going to have to really defend the steal."

That's where Weekly will turn to her trusted veteran, catcher Ashley Andrews.

Andrews — who played her first two seasons at shortstop and has played third base and outfield in addition to catcher this season — relishes the challenge of a series like this.

"Whenever we talk about Georgia, we know they'll be among the best competition we'll see all season," Andrews said. "We know we have to stay focused the whole game, every pitch, every at-bat, every inning."

The Lady Vols have been focused enough to win the past five meetings — not that Andrews has noticed.

"To be honest, I don't even know about that streak," Andrews said. "Against Georgia, it doesn't matter who is up to bat or who is winning.

"We get so excited to play them because the energy level is always so great."

Weekly said in addition to counting on Andrews' strong arm, she knows she can expect the senior from Tumwater, Wash., to bring the right attitude into the dugout and on the field.

"She's had a leadership presence since her freshman year, and she plays with a passion and enthusiasm that our whole team feeds off," said Weekly.

"Ashley loves to be in a position where the ball is in her hands a lot, and she's the kind of player you want to have the ball in her hands. She has great instincts."

Follow Mike Griffith at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 2

voloffaith writes:

yes an article on softball gets its first post from me 2:30+ minutes after it is written. GO Lady Vols chain the lady dawgettes.....

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

I love watching Ash play. She's not the most talented player you'll see but you'll never see anyone scrappier. If the game was on the line I could only think of 2 or 3 more on the team I'd rather have at bat.

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