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No. 8 Florida meets Florida International Thursday at 7 p.m. at the James G. Pressly Stadium for an exhbitiion match.

Wednesday August 13, 2014No. 8 Florida Soccer meets Florida International Thursday in home exhibition action

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 8 Florida meets Florida International Thursday at 7 p.m. at the James G. Pressly Stadium for an exhbitiion match.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 8 Florida soccer meets Florida International Thursday for its first exhibition match of the season. Match time is set for 7 p.m. at the James G. Pressly Stadium and admission is free.

 

This is the first of two exhibition matches for the Gator soccer team. Florida will play host to Baylor on Saturday also at 7 p.m. at Pressly Stadium.

 

Coming in 2014:

About the 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

·         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 is with the U.S. Under-20 National Team at the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. She started the U.S.’s group-play matches versus Germany (2-0 loss) and China (3-0 win). The U.S. advances to the quarterfinal round and meets Korea DPR on Aug. 16. The match airs live on ESPNU at 5 p.m. ET.

 

·         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.

 

About FIU:

FIU return 15 in 2014 and welcome eight newcomers. Seniors Chelsea Leiva, Shim, Johanna Volz, Marie Egan, Caroline Hernandez, along with redshirt juniors Scarlet Montoya, Nikki Rios and Sara Stewart have 33 victories during their first three seasons in an FIU uniform and seek to become one of the winningest classes in FIU history. Shim is a 2014 Conference USA Preseason All-League team. She appeared on the 2013 C-USA second team after leading the Panthers in 2013 with eight goals.

 

The Panthers posted a 7-12 record in 2013 and tied for seventh in the C-USA standings with a 5-5 record. Head Coach Thomas Chestnutt is beginning his eighth season at the head of the FIU program. Chestnutt worked with the Gator soccer team as a student coach from 2001-04 while he was working toward his Ph.D. in environmental engineering at UF.

 

Preseason Conference Votes:

Florida shared the 2013 Southeastern Conference title with Texas A&M as each team posted 9-2 league records. FIU tied for seventh in its first season of Conference USA play.

Florida – The Gators are picked to win the Southeastern Conference.

FIU – The Panthers are picked to finish fourth in Conference USA play in 2014. Charlotte is the preseason pick to win the C-USA.

 

Rankings:

Florida is ranked No. 8 on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll.

 

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 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.

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