Florida Gators soccer opens 2018 season on Friday

Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida soccer starts season No. 24 this Friday at the program’s new permanent home venue – the Donald R. Dizney Stadium<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__floridagators.com_facilities_-3Fid-3D8&d=DwIFAg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=qZY_GOcV7FoJN958RTBJkjHIWhOqnF1tDvcmuc0b0Og&s=uMllCQjR6-c1ffh0rQcxXgLvpWBxgBl8BszlvDbaH_E&e=>. Florida faces the Pac-12’s Washington at 7 p.m. and admission is free for all Gator regular-season home action.

Florida is 17-4-2 in season openers, including a 12-1-1 record when a campaign opens in Gainesville.

Florida’s Fan-tastic Weekend:
Gator soccer kicks off and closes Florida Fan-tastic Weekend events<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_news_2018_8_10_florida-2Dfan-2Dtastic-2Dsoccer-2Dvolleyball-2Dfootball-2Dteams-2Don-2Ddisplay-2Daug-2D17-2D19.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=qZY_GOcV7FoJN958RTBJkjHIWhOqnF1tDvcmuc0b0Og&s=SCfHTdzdZX8wG94BBgIj8Z78JCKqUTFZ_0VPS7UBSm0&e=>.
Friday’s Promotions – vs Washington at 7 p.m.
Opening Night – first 250 fans receive a free t-shirt!
Gator swag giveaway – posters, magnets and schedule cards available. Gators will sign posters post-match.

Sunday’s Promotions – vs Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m.
Faith and Family Night – local churches are invited to attend the game

Gator volleyball and football also have Fan-tastic events planned for the weekend:
Volleyball Fan Day
Saturday, Aug. 18 | 2 p.m. | Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center
Get the 2018 Gators to autograph your official 2018 Florida volleyball schedule poster (available at Saturday’s event) following the Orange & Blue Debut scrimmage.

Football Fan Day
Sunday, Aug. 19 | 2 p.m. | Indoor Practice Facility
Head Coach Dan Mullen and players available to autograph the official 2018 Florida football schedule poster (available at Sunday’s event).

Here’s how to follow the Gators:
Listen to Kyle Crooks and Matthew Stubbington’s call of Friday’s match while watching on SEC Network +<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.espn.com_watch_-5F_id_3422214_washington-2Dvs-2Dflorida-2Dw-2Dsoccer&d=DwIFAg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=qZY_GOcV7FoJN958RTBJkjHIWhOqnF1tDvcmuc0b0Og&s=cY3k4L3RlUL8GfY0uX9fCLw5YApRmdq5M-Rk3gpijX4&e=>.

Ryan Urquhart covers Friday’s match for ESPN Gainesville 98.1 FM / 850 AM<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.wruf.com_listen-2Dlive_&d=DwIFAg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=qZY_GOcV7FoJN958RTBJkjHIWhOqnF1tDvcmuc0b0Og&s=jX1ZztKCVDVP5uEGbFICoyI71HzWTqQ3Lx7mcbdHMNU&e=> – also can hear on FloridaGators.com.

The 2018 Gators:
The 2018 Florida team, made up of 30 players, includes six making their first appearance for the Gators. Florida returns 10 starters from the 2017 NCAA Elite Eight team.

*         Three 2018 Gators earned All-SEC honors last season – Parker Roberts (first team), Deanne Rose (first) and Rachelle Smith (second). Roberts and Rose also appeared on the 2017 United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region team.

*         Rose led the 2017 Gators with nine goals and 21 points. Florida also returns senior goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese, who is five away from tying the program’s record for solo shutouts (27).

*         Florida faces 11 teams among the 2017 NCAA Tournament field during its 18-match regular-season schedule. The first meeting of 2017 NCAA teams is Friday, Aug. 24 when Ohio State visits Dizney Stadium.

*         In Florida’s only 2018 preseason action, the Gators took a 4-0 win at Florida Gulf Coast last Friday. Florida’s four goals came from Roberts, Cassidy Lindley, Madison Alexander and Kit Loferski.

About the Huskies:
This is the second meeting between these teams. In the first, Washington took a 1-0 win at the 2017 Husky/Nike Invitational in Seattle.

Washington returns eight of 16 players that made at least one start in 2017. The Huskies turned a school-record 11 shutouts last season and the 15 goals allowed ranks the second lowest in program history. As a senior, Sarah Shimer played every minute in goal for UW last season.

Sophomore Sianna Siemonsma is Washington’s leading returner in goals (3) and points (6). Washington took a 4-1 win at South Florida in an exhibition match held Monday in Tampa.

Washington turned in a 9-8-3 record in 2017. Lesle Gallimore is in her 25th season at Washington.

Preseason Conference Votes:
Florida took third in the 2017 SEC regular-season standings. Washington was ninth in the 2017 Pac-12 standings.

Florida – The SEC coaches picked the Gators to win the 2018 Southeastern Conference title<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_news_2018_8_13_florida-2Dis-2Dsoccer-2Dcoaches-2Dpreseason-2Dpick-2Dfor-2D2018-2Dsec-2Dtitle.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=qZY_GOcV7FoJN958RTBJkjHIWhOqnF1tDvcmuc0b0Og&s=J0XVHCK6bOmr2Na3RENayUpZWjXxJxY8yQ0Gn-dIGfg&e=>.

UW – The Huskies are picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__pac-2D12.com_article_2018_08_06_stanford-2Dpicked-2Dwin-2D2018-2Dpac-2D12-2Dwomens-2Dsoccer-2Dtitle&d=DwIFAg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=qZY_GOcV7FoJN958RTBJkjHIWhOqnF1tDvcmuc0b0Og&s=thK0Q2-3ISfNJdg4Vv43M59p9RlOPjk_BpMaFxruRq8&e=>. Defending NCAA champion Stanford is the Pac-12’s preseason pick to win the league.

Rankings:
Florida ranks No. 7 on the preseason United Soccer Coaches (USC) poll<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__unitedsoccercoaches.org_web_Rankings_College-5FRankings_NCAA-5FDI-5FWOMEN_web_rankings_ncaa_di-5Fwomen.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=pZJPUDQ3SB9JplYbifm4nt2lEVG5pWx2KikqINpWlZM&r=6MG06PG_fwpe7ULfewi6NrFR2j_4ngNZtgGHhDCeRY0&m=qZY_GOcV7FoJN958RTBJkjHIWhOqnF1tDvcmuc0b0Og&s=RE7RqGdSQr31SYXx_Yv2l0XowK0vsAzHo7cNPk-puBo&e=>.

It is the 22nd consecutive Florida appearance in the coaches’ association preseason poll and the seventh straight year the Gators open among the nation’s top 10. Florida faces seven teams ranked in the United Soccer Coaches preseason top 25.

The Dizney Stadium is the site for four of those matches – No. 2 UCLA (Aug. 31), No. 12 Southern California (Sept. 2), No. 23 Ohio State (Aug. 24) and No. 25 Tennessee (Oct. 4). Florida travels to meet preseason No. 5 South Carolina (Oct. 7), No. 10 Florida State (Sept. 7) and No. 16 Central Florida.

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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.