It feels like '98 in Knoxville again, and it's an unusual suspectin the title hunt that has Rocky Top abuzz.
It's not Peyton Manning or bArian Foster (or even Chris Lofton) driving a Volunteer team into championship contention.
This time, it's names like Raven Chavanne, Lauren Gibson and Ellen and Ivy Renfroe that are catapulting themselves into Volunteer lore with their title run.
The Lady Vols softball team has never been short on talent, but it seemed they never could put it together when it counted. A second and first place finish in the SEC East the past two seasons verified that talent was indeed on the roster but come tournament time, the pieces to the proverbial puzzle never seemed to fit.
Some would verify this, echoing the "when" not "if" notionthat the Lady Vols would make a College World Series run.
After a 2-1 victory over Texas that sent the ladies into the three-game championship series against Oklahoma, that time has officially come.
This run almost didn't happen, as the Lady Vols narrowly escaped N.C. State in 11 innings in the NCAA Regionals. They then managed to breeze through James Madison University and eventually beat defending national champion Alabama in the Super Regionals.
After tornadoes ravaged the Oklahoma City area and postponed a matchup with Washington, the ladies powered through in ugly fashion, stranding 15 runners before marching on to the final with a 1-0 walk-off home run from Tory Lewis.The only issue with the magical run the Lady Vols are currentlyriding is the slight lackof interest pouring from the Knoxville faithful.
After undergoing as muchturmoil as an athletic department can go through (including,but not limited to: coach firings, NCAA probations, recruiting violations, star players being kicked off teams and improper benefits taking place), onewould believe this run would have captured the hearts of all Vol fans.
Though not unprecedented, the run these girls are currently on offers a chance for UT fans and alumni to focus on something besides negativity for once in a very long while.
Naysayers will naysay, but instead of flipping on the NBA Playoffs or an insignificant Yankees game, support these girls. Give the team page a follow on Facebook and Twitter and enjoy Volunteers athletics in the limelight. These ladies fought to reach center stage. Don't rob them of an audience.