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Walk-on goalie gives Lady Vols soccer a chance to be champions

A goalkeeper who wasn’t even on Tennessee’s roster this time last week has given the Lady Vols a chance to be SEC East champions.
Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 7:28 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 3, 2020 at 3:51 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A goalkeeper who wasn’t even on Tennessee’s roster this time last week has given the Lady Vols a chance to be SEC East champions.

Lady Vol goalkeeper Jenna Rolfe celebrated her first win in a Tennessee uniform last week, and it was down in the Swamp, too.

“It literally just still feels like a dream,” Rolfe told WVLT News Anchor Brittany Tarwater.

Just last week, Rolfe wasn’t even on the team. She played soccer in high school, but as a senior at UT, was more involved with her school and sorority than sports. “I never would have ever thought that I’d be playing for an SEC team like my senior year,” she said.

How did it all come about?

Head Coach Brian Pensky said the team’s original backup goalie opted out of the season because of COVID-19 concerns, and then the original starter got hurt in the previous game against Texas A&M.

That left the team scrambling to find a keeper ahead of the game against Florida. So, Pensky made a call to a Lady Vol’s teammate from high school to fill the spot.

Rolfe went through COVID-19 protocols and NCAA protocols and had her first practice with the team Thursday, one day before the game in Gainesville.

“Once the whistle blew, and I was on the field, kind of all the nerves went away, and it was more like adrenaline and excitement," Rolfe said, adding she just tried to focus and have fun.

The Lady Vols ended up defeating Florida 2-1.

“So, we’re now playing South Carolina for the SEC East Championship this Friday because of that win," Pensky said. “So the fact that she had that kind of courage and guts and willingness to do it just says a lot about who she is.”

There’s no word on who will get to start in the game against South Carolina, but Rolfe is on the team for the rest of the season.

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