The Lady Vols softball team will look to retake the No. 1 spot in the NCAA poll this weekend at the USF Tournament in Tampa, Fla.
Tennessee lost the top spot to Florida by one point in the poll, despite going 4-0 last weekend.
The quest to return to the top begins with a doubleheader Friday, when Tennessee takes on Pittsburgh and Binghamton, respectively.
Senior pitcher Ellen Renfroe said she wants to be No. 1, but she is maintaining perspective.
"When you start looking at numbers and you get away from the process of what it takes to win, I think that's when you start to go wrong," Renfroe said. "So really, I think we need to stay focused on ourselves, and not what the numbers are, and what other people are ranked and what they're doing."
However, sophomore Lexi Overstreet is not at all concerned with the rankings this early in the season.
"It doesn't really bother me," Overstreet said. "It's not where we begin that matters. It's where we finish that makes all the difference."
Tennessee will play another doubleheader Saturday against its toughest opponent of the season so far.
The first game of the doubleheader will be against South Florida in their home stadium. The Bulls were only dropped from the rankings after losses to Florida and Michigan last weekend.
Tennessee will most likely be matched up against USF senior pitcher Sara Nevins, who was named to the 2013 USA Softball Women's National Team, which consisted of only 18 current and former college softball players.
USF senior shortstop Kourtney Salvarola was also named to the 18-player roster.
Renfroe knows she will have to be at the top of her game against one of the best pitchers in the country.
"I know that Sara, is a really strong pitcher, and she's a great girl," Renfroe said. "I've been able to talk to her a little bit when I was at the selection camp a couple of summers ago, and she's a competitor. So I know she's going to bring it whenever she gets out there."
Overstreet said the focus this week has been on pitch selection, which is especially important against a top pitcher like Nevins.
"(The coaches) really key on the pitches you get when you're up to bat – swinging at good pitches and not letting fat ones go by," Overstreet said.
The Lady Vols will face undefeated Illinois in the second game of the doubleheader Saturday.
Renfroe believes the difficult schedule will be an important test for the team this early in the season.
"I think it will really challenge our team in a different way," Renfroe said. "We might face some better pitching. We'll face better hitters for the pitchers on our team. Just to challenge us a little more to see what we really have."
The tough competition does not intimidate Overstreet; in fact, she believes it is Tennessee that should frighten the opposition.
"I think it's kind of scary and should be intimidating for other teams that they can't take it light on anybody in our lineup because anybody in our lineup can hit home runs," Overstreet said.
Tennessee will close out the USF Tournament Sunday morning against Wright State, who the Vols will meet again in a doubleheader March 5 in their home opener.
Even with Sunday's game being their ninth in 10 days, Renfroe takes the responsibility of supporting the team at each opportunity.
"I'm hoping to be able to throw every single day that we have a game," Renfroe said. "Whether my team needs me or not, I want to be ready."