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No. 2 regional seed Florida meets Duke in Durham, N.C., Friday in NCAA Second Round action.

Thursday November 21, 2013Changing things up: No. 2 regional seed Florida soccer at Duke Friday for NCAA Second Round

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 2 regional seed Florida meets Duke in Durham, N.C., Friday in NCAA Second Round action.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- In 2012, the Florida soccer team lost to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 round. At home. 

 

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No. 2 region seed Florida (18-4-1, 9-2 SEC) versus Duke (8-8-5, 5-5-3 ACC)

 

Date & Time: Nov. 22, 2013 @ 7:30 p.m. ET

Site: Koskinen Stadium (7,000)

Streaming video: streaming video on GoDuke.com

 

Radio: ESPN 850 AM

 

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

 

Admission:  Tickets range from $5 to $8.– visit the DU Ticket Office site or contact ticket office at 1-877-375-3853

 

NCAA Championships’ field: Complete bracket

 

Florida NCAA history: The Gators are making their 17th appearance in the NCAA Championships’ field

 

 

In 2011, the Gators lost to UCF in the round of 32. At home. 

 

In 2010, penalty kicks doomed UF in second-round play against Duke. At home. 

 

See a pattern developing here? Gators coach Becky Burleigh did. 

 

That’s why her program opted to take extreme measures to try and change up its NCAA karma in 2013 by bypassing the opportunity to bid for a host site in the tournament’s second weekend.  

 

“I just think we needed to do something different this year,” said Burleigh, whose Gators (18-4-1) will be a rare No. 2 on the NCAA road this weekend, with a second-round date Friday at unseeded Duke (8-8-5). “We’ve been in this situation before and haven’t had as much success as we’d like. Sometimes, you have to mix it up.”

 

Sometimes even radically.  

 

Florida defeated Jacksonville 2-0 in last week’s opening-round action at Pressly Stadium. Now, the Gators will pack their bags and head to Durham, N.C., to face a fairly familiar opponent -- the two programs have met 11 times, not including scrimmages every other spring -- with hopes of surviving the weekend and landing a spot in a regional title game next weekend. 

 

That game also would be on the road. 

 

“I just think there’s something to be said for a change of scenery at times,” said Burleigh, whose team, should it advance Friday, would face either St. John’s or Arkansas in Sunday’s Sweet 16 game. “We have great fans. We love the crowds we draw and the fans we have are awesome. But I think it’s just in our best interest to do it this way, this time.”

 

Though traveling certainly has its disadvantages, the UF coach likes the fact her players will be in a “self-contained” environment as far team hotel, meals, etc. 

 

The rest, as in locking in on the challenge ahead, will take care of itself. 

 

“It doesn’t matter where we play,” junior midfielder Annie Speese said. “What matters is how we play and that we now have another opportunity to play.” 

 

This one has one-and-done stakes. 

 

“It’s more nerve-racking,” said freshman forward Savannah Jordan, the nation’s No. 2 scorer with 22 goals. “That makes us work even harder.” 

 

Burleigh is hoping the opposing team’s home crowd will assist in the former This is a team that’s embraced just about every challenge and concept the coaching staff has put before them this season, especially the notions of playing for each other and having one another's back.

 

What better way to prove it all than taking their NCAA show on the road?

 

Given recent history, it’s worth a shot. 

 

“We haven’t talked about what happened last year or any other year,” junior keeper Taylor Burke said. “We’re focusing on doing something different.” 

 

With different results. 

 

 

 

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