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The 2014 Gators return 11 starters from the 2013 team which tied for the SEC title. UF opens at No. 8 on the preseason poll.

Wednesday August 6, 2014Florida Soccer Opens Practice Wednesday

Gainesville, Fla.

The 2014 Gators return 11 starters from the 2013 team which tied for the SEC title. UF opens at No. 8 on the preseason poll.

 

The Gator soccer team kicked off the 2014 campaign with their first training session Wednesday morning at Florida’s Lacrosse/Soccer Complex.

 

 

Gators No. 8 on NSCAA Preseason Poll:

Florida starts the 2014 season No. 8 on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire Preseason Rankings. Defending NCAA champion UCLA tops the NSCAA preseason poll.

 

In the 20-year history of the Gator soccer team, this is the program’s 18th consecutive appearance in the NSCAA preseason poll. During the 2013 season, Florida turned in a record of 18-5-1 and won a share of the Southeastern Conference title.

 

Florida faces four teams ranked in the NSCAA preseason top 14 – all on the road. The first meetings come in consecutive Fridays – at preseason No. 2 Florida State on Sept. 5 and at No. 6 Stanford on Sept. 12. Florida is also at No. 9 Texas A&M on Oct. 3 and faces No. 14 South Carolina on Oct. 16 in a match televised on the SEC Network.

 

About the 2014 Gators:

The 2014 Gator team is made up of 25 players, which is fairly evenly split between upper and lower classmen, as 12 are either freshmen or sophomores while the remaining 13 are juniors or seniors. Florida returns all its starters from the 2013 team that reached the NCAA Second Round.

 

A pair of Gators appeared on the 2013 NSCAA All-America second-team – junior defender Christen Westphal and sophomore forward Savannah Jordan. Joining Westphal and Jordan on the 2013 NSCAA All-South Region team were midfielder Havana Solaun and goalkeeper Taylor Burke.  

 

RETURNING STARTERS: 11

Players

Pos

Class

GP/GS

Goals

Assists

Points

Savannah Jordan

F

SO

24/24

22

3

47

Havana Solaun

MF

SR

21/21

8

9

25

Pamela Begič

MF

SO

23/22

4

6

14

Annie Speese

MF

SR

24/24

3

7

13

Lauren Smith

MF

JR

24/23

3

1

7

Claire Falknor

D

JR

22/20

1

3

5

Meggie Dougherty Howard

MF

SO

24/20

2

1

5

Tessa Andujar

MF

SR

23/24

1

2

4

Christen Westphal

D

JR

24/24

1

1

3

Karina Gutsche

D

SR

24/24

0

0

0

 

·         Twelve of the Gators’ top 13 points contributors return in 2014, including Jordan whose total of 22 goals was just one behind the nation’s 2013 leader.

 

·         Three Gators – Jordan, Solaun and Westphal – are among the 63 Division I players on Preseason MAC Hermann Watch List. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the most prestigious individual award in NCAA soccer presented annually to one male and one female athlete. The winners will be announced Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, at the trophy presentation banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

 

·         The trio also appears among TopDrawerSoccer.com’s preseason Best XI teams. Jordan is one of three forwards on the first team. Solaun (midfield) and Westphal (defender) appear on the second team.

 

·         Jordan did not join the Gators in the opening day of practice, as she is with the U.S. Under-20 National Team at the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. The U.S. opened group play yesterday with a 2-0 loss to Germany.

 

·         Burke’s 2013 goals-against-average of 0.543 ranked No. 13 among NCAA Division I goalkeepers and set Gators’ season GAA record.

 

·         Florida’s returns its backline (Tessa Andjuar, Claire Falknor, Karina Gutsche and Westphal), a group which helped limit opponents to a total of 15 goals in 2013. That number of goals allowed is the lowest for UF since the 12 allowed in 2007 and is the third-lowest total in the program’s 19-year history. The Gators’ 2013 team GAA of 0.61 is the program’s third-lowest.

 

Five newcomers join the Gators in 2014:

The five-member freshman class has played with state, regional, national and/or international teams, including defender Courtney Douglas. The Canadian has represented Jamaica in CONCACAF Under-17 and Under-20 play. Jessie Holmes was a four-year member of the Cal North ’96 state and Region IV ODP teams.Cassie Owens was a member of FC Boulder 18U team which won the 2013 National Premier League Champions Cup in Aurora, Colorado. Talise Romain, a four-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer.com, was member of Region II team which won ’96 age group title at the 2012 and 2013 US Youth Soccer Interregional Thanksgiving Tournaments.

Betsy Middleton joins the Gators after playing her freshman season at Miami (Florida). She appeared in each of the Hurricanes’ 18 matches in 2013, including starting the final 11. Her first collegiate goal was the overtime winner at Milwaukee.

NEWCOMERS: 5

Name

Pos

High School/Previous School

Hometown (Club)

Courtney Douglas

Defender

St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School

Brampton, Ontario (Erin Mills SC)

Jessie Holmes

Defender/Forward

Los Gatos High School

Los Gatos, Calif. (DeAnza Force)

Betsy Middleton

Midfielder

Western Alamance H.S./Miami-FL)

Elon, N.C.( CASL Chelsea Ladies ECNL)

Cassie Owens

Forward

Monarch High School

Superior, Colo. (FC Boulder)

Talise Romain

Defender

Neuqua Valley H.S.

Naperville, Ill. (Team Chicago)

 

Season Opener:

Soccer is the first Florida team competing this season, as the Gators open the 2014 season on Friday, Aug. 22 when Miami comes to the James G. Pressly Stadium for a 7 p.m. match. Florida continues home action on Sunday, Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. against South Florida. That match will be played at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Admission is free for all Gator home regular-season action.

There are two home exhibition matches before Florida opens on Aug. 23. Florida meets Florida International on Aug. 14 and Baylor on Aug. 16. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. at Pressly Stadium.

 

 

 

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