August 4, 2015,
Special to GC
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Florida starts the 2015 season No. 8 on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire Preseason Rankings<http://www.nscaa.com/rankings/4158/NCAADivisionI/women/PreseasonPoll>.
Defending NCAA champion Florida State tops the NSCAA preseason poll. Preseason practice begin Wednesday for the 2015 Gators.
In the 21-year history of the Gator soccer team, this is the program's 19th consecutive appearance in the NSCAA preseason poll. During the 2014 season, Florida turned in a record of 17-4-2 and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinal Round.
About the 2015 Florida Gators:
The 2015 Gator team is made up of 32 players, including 15 incoming freshmen. The 15 member freshman class is the third largest in the program's 21-year history. Florida returns six starters from the 2014 team that advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinal Round.
Florida returns a pair of All-Americans. Junior forward Savannah Jordan<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=102> earned All-America honors in 2013 and 2014 and senior defender Christen Westphal<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=96> received All-America honors in 2013.
Those two were joined by senior defender Claire Falknor<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=89> on the U.S. Under-23 roster for the 2015 Four Nation's Tournament, played in Norway at the end of May. The trio also claimed All-SEC honors in 2015.
RETURNING STARTERS: 6
Meggie Dougherty Howard
* Ten of the 15 Gators who earned points in 2014 return this season. Of the 175 points generated by the 2014 Gators, graduation claimed five players who contributed 44 percent of the points and 38 percent of the goals (Havana Solaun - 9 goals, 9 assists - 27 points), Annie Speese (6g, 8a, 20pts), Tessa Andujar (3g, 10a, 16pts), Jillian Graff (2g, 3a, 7pts) and Lauren Silver (2g, 2a, 6pts).
* Jordan has led not only the Gators in goals and points the last two years, she also ranked among the Southeastern Conference and NCAA leaders. In the final 2014 NCAA stats, Jordan ranked No. 8 in goals (19) and No. T-7 in points (46). Her two-year career total of 41 goals is second only to Gator Great Abby Wambach's<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2001&bio=wambach.html> freshman and sophomore total of 42 goals.
* TopDrawerSoccer.com<http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer-articles/coaches-survey:-best-womens-di-players_aid36779> surveyed collegiate coaches to get their picks for the nation's best defender, midfielder, forward, goalkeeper and breakout star for 2015. A Gator was among the top vote getters for three of the five categories - Westphal (defender), Jordan (forward) and Falknor (breakout). One other player, Gabby Seiler<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=125>, earned votes in the breakout category. Seiler transferred to Florida after playing her first two seasons at Georgia. The 2014 All-SEC first team selection will sit out the 2015 season due to league transfer rules.
* TopDrawerSoccer also ranks the top 10 returners for each position. Jordan is among the forwards<http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer-articles/top-10-forwards-in-di-womens-soccer_aid36685>, Westphal is on the defenders<http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer-articles/top-10-defenders-in-di-womens-soccer_aid36490> list and Seiler appears among the midfielders<http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer-articles/top-10-midfielders-in-di-womens-soccer_aid36628>.
* Junior Meggie Dougherty Howard<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=104> earned a spot on the USL W-League All-League team<http://www.w20soccer.com/common/mobile/mobile.html?jobid=72015&nogames=Y#a887178> playing this summer with the Washington Spirit Reserves. She is one of five of the 11 on the team who will play collegiately in 2015. The Spirit Reserves won the 2015 W-League championship final.
Fifteen freshmen join the Gators in 2015:
The 15 freshmen is the third-largest class ever for UF and is the largest since 16 joined the team for the 2008 season.
* Among the 15 freshman are a pair - Kaylan Marckese<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=124> and Briana Solis<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=112> - who were called into U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team camps this year. Another duo have been called into U.S. age-group national team camps, Mayra Pelayo<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=123> and Gaby Rivera.
* At the US Youth Soccer National Championship in Tulsa, Okla<http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org/2015_us_youth_soccer_national_champions_crowned_in_tulsa_okla/>., on July 26, Marckese helped Tampa Bay United win the Under-17 national title. Marckese, who allowed just a single goal in the five matches played, received the event's Golden Glove award and named to the Best XI team<http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org/2015_national_championship_best_11/>.
* Eight were listed among TopDrawerSoccer.com's four- or three-star recruits<http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/search/?area=commitments&genderId=f>. Four stars: Brittney Bennett<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=113>, Melanie Monteagudo<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=115>, Pelayo, Rivera, Solis and Bryce Watts<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=116>. Three stars: Marckese and Sara Wilson<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=121>.
* TopDrawerSoccer.com placed Monteagudo on its 2015 Winter All-America first team<http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/high-school-soccer-article/hs-girls:-winter-all-america_aid36844> and Pelayo on the second team.
* In addition to Monteagudo and Pelayo (both on Florida-South region), four other incoming Gators earned spots on 2015 TopDrawerSoccer.com All-Region teams<http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/high-school-soccer-article/hs-girls:-winter-region-state-all-stars_aid36829> - Solis (Florida-North region), Morgan Mannweiler<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=122> (Florida-South), Rachelle Smith<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=127> (Florida-South) and Bennett (Southeast).
* Six were part of their high school's state championship teams -Bennett, Sabrina Chung<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=120>, Giovana Giraldo, Monteagudo, Pelayo and Sarah Troccoli<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=118>.
* All have extensive playing resumes in Elite Clubs Soccer League (ECNL), Olympic Development Program or US Youth Soccer competition.
* Five newcomers - Sabrina Chung, Giovana Giraldo, Mannweiler, Pelayo and Rachelle Smith - were part of the same club team (Palm Beach Magic Jack).
* Two graduated from high school early to join the Gators. Troccoli finished her high school studies in December of 2014, allowing her to enroll at the University of Florida for the spring 2015 semester. Marckese graduated from St. Petersburg High School in three years and enrolled at UF in the summer of 2015.
INCOMING FRESHMEN: 15
Grayson High School
American Heritage High School of Boca/Delray
Boynton Beach, Fla.
Boynton Beach, Fla.
The Benjamin School
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Valley View High School
Boca Raton High School
Delray Beach, Fla.
St. Petersburg High School
St. Petersburg, Fla.
American Heritage Plantation High School
Pembroke Pines, Fla.
The Benjamin School
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Atlanta International School
Pembroke Pines Charter High School
Pembroke Pines, Fla.
University High School
Troy High School
Red Land High School
Bishop O'Connell High School
Half of the Gators' 18-match schedule<http://www.gatorzone.com/schedule.php?sport=socce> includes teams which advanced to 2014 NCAA play.
2014 NCAA Play
at Ohio State
at Mississippi State
Shading denotes home matches
In addition, Florida plays a pair of home exhibition matches - Aug. 11 versus Troy and Aug. 15 versus FGCU. The FGCU Eagles also advanced to NCAA action in 2014.
Other schedule notes:
* The Gators make four appearances on the SEC Network in 2015 - Aug. 30 vs. FSU, Sept. 10 vs. Texas A&M, Oct. 22 vs. South Carolina and Oct. 29 vs. Georgia. All non-televised Gator regular-season home matches will stream on SEC Network +.
* The eight home matches will be played at two venues - James G. Pressly Stadium<http://www.gatorzone.com/facilities/jgpressly> and Donald R. Dizney Stadium<http://www.gatorzone.com/facilities/drdizney>.
Aug. 30 vs Florida State
Sept. 10 vs. Texas A&M
Sept. 4 vs Oklahoma State
Oct. 25 vs. Arkansas
Sept. 18 vs. Mississippi
Oct. 2 vs. Kentucky
Oct. 11 vs. LSU
Oct. 22 vs. South Carolina
Florida faces five teams ranked in the NSCAA preseason top 25. Florida opens the season Aug. 21 at preseason No. 17 Central Florida. Then No. 1 Florida State comes to Gainesville for the Gators' home opener at Pressly Stadium on Aug. 30. The Gators will meet No. 5 Texas A&M at the Dizney Stadium on Sept. 10. The Gators also play host to No. 16 Kentucky on Oct. 2 and No. 11 South Carolina on Oct. 22 at Pressly Stadium.
The Gators make four appearances on the SEC Network in 2015 - Aug. 30 vs. FSU, Sept. 10 vs. Texas A&M, Oct. 22 vs. South Carolina and Oct. 29 vs. Georgia. All non-televised Gator regular-season home matches will stream on SEC Network +.