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The Gators' 2013 season opens this Friday with a match versus Florida Gulf Coast.

Wednesday August 21, 2013No. 9 Florida Soccer opens 2013 season Friday with home match versus Florida Gulf Coast

Gainesville, Fla.

The Gators' 2013 season opens this Friday with a match versus Florida Gulf Coast.

Soccer again is the first Gator team to officially start off the 2013-14 athletic season, starting one week ahead of any other sport. For the fifth consecutive year, Florida begins the season with a match versus an instate rival. This season, Florida faces Florida Gulf Coast to open the season at James G. Pressly Stadium on Aug. 23.

 

Friday’s Match Info:

Preseason No. 9 Florida (0-0, 0-0 SEC) versus Florida Gulf Coast (0-0, 0-0 ASC)

 

Date & Time: Aug. 23, 2013 @ 7 p.m. ET

Site: James G. Pressly Stadium (4,500)

The Coaches: Becky Burleigh, 18th season @ UF (401-108-33/24th season overall – 319-85-27/UF), Jim Blankenship, 284-91-19/17th year overall & 71-29-13/7 /seventh season at FGCU)

 

Television: none

 

Radio: ESPN 850/900

 

Streaming video: live streaming video available on GatorVision

 

Internet: live stats and audio for UF-FGCU match available on www.GatorZone.com

 

Admission:  free

 

First 500 fans Friday receive a banner clapper.

Promotions: Banner Clapper - First 500 fans receive banner clapper, with logo impression; Autograph Session - following the match, the Florida Soccer team will host a post-match autograph session

 

For a complete list of match promotions, please visit the Gator Promotions page.

 

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This is the fourth meeting all-time between the two programs and second meeting between the two teams in regular-season action. The first-ever meeting came in September of 2011 when UF took a 5-0 win. Later that fall, the two teams also met at Pressly Stadium in NCAA Championships’ first-round action, with the Gators’ advancing on a 3-0 win. The two teams met in 2012 NCAA opening round play at Pressly Stadium. A goal in each half – the first by Erika Tymrak and the second by Annie Speese) moved the Gators to the NCAA Second Round.

 

Coming into 2013:

About the Gators:

Florida returns six starters – Tessa Andujar (D), Taylor Burke (GK), Havana Solaun (MF), Annie Speese (FM), Taylor Travis (D), Christen Westphal (D)

 

The Gators return two who have earned All-SEC honors during their careers – senior Taylor Travis (2010 All-SEC second team) and sophomore Christen Westphal (2012 All-SEC second team). Junior Havana Solaun, who is part of the U.S. Under-23 National Team player pool, was second among the 2012 Gators with 22 points off of seven goals and eight assists. Fellow junior Annie Speese was fourth in 2012 with 16 points after turning in six goals and four assists.

 

The eight-member freshman class has played with state, regional, national and/or international teams, including goalkeeper signee Nora Neset Gjøen (Bergen, Norway). Gjøen spent the summer with Norway’s Senior National team who finished as the 2013 EURO Championships runner-up. Another international signee, Pamela Begič (Semic, Slovenia), played with Slovenia’s team in qualifying action for the 2013 Women’s EURO. Liz Slattery (Cincinnati, Ohio) is a 2011 and 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) High School All-America selection. Meggie Dougherty Howard (Largo, Fla.) and Savannah Jordan (Fayetteville, Ga.) have attended age group national camp at the U.S. National Training Center in Carson, Calif.  Kristen Cardano (Tulsa, Okla.), Jordan, Katie Richmond (Pensacola, Fla.) and Brooke Sharpe (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) all have been part of state and regional Olympic Development Program (ODP) teams.

 

About the Eagles:

FGCU returns eight starters – Melissa Arnold (MF), Emma Blackwell (D), Brittany Brown (GK), Kayley Clay (MF), Ally Kasun (MF), Shea Rhoney (MF), Julie Roddar (MF), Shannen Wacker (F)

 

The Eagles return 14 players, including eight starters from the 2012 team, and welcome 10 newcomers. The Eagles return two who earned all-conference first-team honors in 2012 - junior Shannen Wacker and sophomore Ally Kasun.

 

Preseason Conference Votes:

Florida – Gators are picked to win the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division and finished second behind preseason No. 12 Texas A&M in the coaches’ vote for 2013 league title.

FGCU – Eagles are preseason pick to claim its fourth consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference team title in 2013

 

Becky Burleigh Says:

“I feel pretty good overall. I like the mentality of this team. I think we’ve got to show it a little more aggressively. They’ve shown throughout the preseason that when we’ve thrown something tough at them, they’ve been able to handle that. At the same time, they’ve shown the ability to have some composure.”

 

Rankings:

Florida is ranked No. 9 on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll. This marks the 17th consecutive season that Florida appears in the NSCAA preseason poll in the 19-year history of the program.

 

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