Florida Gators soccer to host NCAA 1st round game

Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida soccer team plays host to South Alabama on Friday, Nov. 10 for NCAA First Round action. Match time is 6 p.m. at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Florida is a No. 3 region seed.

This is the first meeting between the two programs.

The first 200 UF student showing at Gator1 card are admitted free.

Ticket sales begin Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Gator Ticket Office, located at gate 1 of the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. For more information:

NCAA Action:
UF is one of 32 programs playing host to 2017 NCAA First Round action this weekend.

The tournament schedule for the next four weeks is 1-2-1-2. First round play will be Nov. 10, 11 or 12. The second and third rounds are the next weekend (Nov. 17 and 19) at eight campus sites. NCAA Quarterfinal action will be Nov. 24 or 25 on four campus sites with the Women’s College Cup set for Dec. 1 & 3 at the Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Fla. This is the fourth Sunshine State appearance for the NCAA Women’s College Cup (Orlando 1982, 1983; Boca Raton 2014).

About the Florida Gators:
The Gators claimed one of the 33 at-large berths for the 64-team field.

*         Florida’s 21 overall NCAA appearances is tied for 11th among Division I programs. Among the teams in the top 15, Florida is the youngest as UF is in its 23nd season.

*         This is Florida’s 15th straight NCAA appearance, which ranks ninth for active streaks of consecutive NCAA Championship berths. North Carolina leads all as the Tar Heels have appeared in all 36 NCAA Championship fields.

In last year’s NCAA action, Florida advanced to the NCAA Round of 16, falling 3-1 to Auburn.

Florida is 6-4 against teams in the 2017 tournament field.

Gators versus NCAA field in 2017

Wins

Losses

Date

Opponent

Result

Date

Opponent

Result

Aug. 25

Stanford

W, 3-2

Sept. 21

at Texas A&M

L, 2-1

Sept. 14

Mississippi

W, 1-0

Oct. 12

Florida State

L, 2-0

Sept. 24

Alabama

W, 3-0

Oct. 15

Auburn

L, 1-0

Oct. 8

at Vanderbilt

W, 3-0

Nov. 2

vs Texas A&M

L, 2-1 OT

Oct. 22

at Tennessee

W, 2-1

Oct. 31

vs Auburn

W, 1-0

Florida’s Becky Burleigh has been the head coach for each of the program’s 23 seasons and is one of three women to lead her team to the NCAA title.

Five Gators appear on the 2017 All-SEC teams, announced Oct. 29 by the league office. Three are on the first team – Parker Roberts, Deanne Rose and Gabby Seiler. Rose is also the SEC Freshman of the Year. Two Gator defenders appear on the second team – Kristen Cardano and Rachelle Smith. Seiler is a three-time All-SEC first team selection (2014 at Georgia, 2016 with UF) and Cardano was on the 2016 All-SEC second team. Cardano missed the final four matches of the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered Oct. 12 versus Florida State.

About the South Alabama Jaguars:
Each of the Jaguars’ five NCAA appearance have come in the last five seasons. The Jaguars moved to NCAA Championships by winning a Sun Belt Conference record fifth-consecutive league tournament title yesterday in Foley, Ala., defeating Coastal Carolina 5-0.

South Alabama is 14-5-1 and won the Sun Belt regular-season title with a 9-1 record.

Senior Rio Hardy is the 2017 SBC Player of the Year and Tournament Most Valuable Player. She shares third in 2017 Division I statistics with 16 goals and is fifth with 37 points. Junior Hannah Godfrey is the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. Sophomore Justice Stanford leads the conference with seven shutouts and owns a goals-against-average of 0.87.

South Alabama advanced to 2015 NCAA Second Round action in Tallahassee before its farthest run ended with a 5-0 loss to Florida State. Last season, USA lost 4-0 at Auburn in the NCAA First Round.

Florida and South Alabama have played three common opponents in 2017 – Auburn (UF 1-0 loss, 1-0 win-SEC Tournament; USA 3-0 loss), Florida State (UF 2-0 loss, USA 2-1 loss) and Alabama (UF 3-0 win, USA 2-1 loss).

Team Records:
Florida: 14-6, 7-3 SEC
South Alabama: 14-5-1, 9-0-1 ASUN

Becky Burleigh Says:
On playing at home:
“We are very excited about being at home, especially coming off the long trip of the SEC Tournament. It’s just really nice to be at home. The weather is supposed to be beautiful this weekend, we get to sleep in our own beds – there are just so many pluses to being at home.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh

On what to expect from South Alabama:
“This will be the first meeting with South Alabama, so we’ll be doing a lot of research from this point forward. They have had a lot of success in the last few years. It’s definitely not a team you can take lightly.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh

On South Alabama coming to Gainesville:
“I think sometimes when you get into tournament time, you spend a lot of time focusing on the other team. I think for us, the focus is on ourselves and what we can do best on Friday to make sure that we get a win.” – senior captain Gabby Seiler

SEC Representation:
The Southeastern Conference led the nation with an all-time high nine teams received bids – Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

The Atlantic Coast Conference followed with eight teams and the Pac-12 sent six to 2017 NCAA play.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.