WRUF/WUFT’s Bonnie Mott previews tonight’s SEC matchup vs the LSU Tigers. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 PM from the swamp and you can catch all the pregame action on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 3.
University of Florida’s 4×400 meter track runner Loreal Curtis wasn’t always in blue and orange, but her heart was. Curtis was born and raised in Houston, Texas where she attended Lutheran South Academy. During her senior year she signed a full scholarship to DePaul University in Chicago.
“I signed to DePaul because I wanted to get away from Texas and out of state” said Curtis. “I had a pretty big scholarship there and my parents wouldn’t have to pay like they have done my entire life when I attended private school.”
At DePaul Curtis was off to a pretty successful start with her biggest success coming when she ran on the 4×100 meter relay team that broke the DePaul record at the FSU Relays by running the race in 47.03. But despite her accomplishments, she’s always had a passion to run for her dream team, the Florida Gators.
“Florida’s always been my dream school,” she said. “After my sophomore year I realized that DePaul wasn’t for me so I stayed consistent with emailing Florida and one day they finally responded and I transferred.”
Upon her arrival in Gainesville, she faced some academic issues.“At DePaul I was ahead, I could graduate early because I was so far ahead.”
But Curtis wanted to have her four years of eligibility. With her transferring to Florida, only 60 of the 120 credits that she already had were accepted by the university. While at DePaul, her expected graduation date was spring 2014, that date has changed to summer 2015.
On the track, she also faced a lot of differences, saying “both teams are really different.”
DePaul was smaller with many athletes from the area; Florida has more diversity and she enjoys having teammates from all around the country and she also enjoys having a bigger team in general. Curtis also mentions that the weather in Gainesville compared to Chicago are “polar opposites” and she sometimes misses having all four seasons in Chicago.
With Curtis graduating next summer, her dream is to win a championship with her team. In her first season in a Gator uniform her 4×400 meter relay team finished fourth at outdoor nationals and third at indoor nationals.
But even if she doesn’t, she says that she’ll still be satisfied that she was given the opportunity to attend the University of Florida and run for her favorite team.
“I’m living the dream.”
The fifth ranked Florida soccer team opened the floodgates with four goals in the second half to beat the Mississippi Bulldogs 5-1 at James Pressley Stadium Friday night.
The Gators remain unbeaten in the SEC with a 6-0 record. They improve to 11-2 overall. The Bulldogs fall to 3-10 and remain winless in conference play.
Mississippi State its presence known at the start of the game. The Bulldogs took the lead in just the second minute of the game with a score from their first corner kick. The Gators would tie the game just eight minutes later courtesy of Florida forward Savannah Jordan.
“You know (it) certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to start the game but I thought it was really a good response by our team to come back and get that goal to equalize,” said UF soccer head coach Becky Burleigh. “Still took us a little longer than we would’ve liked to get ahead but I thought that second goal was a tough, physical goal by Savannah.”
While the game was at a stalemate for the first 60 minutes, the Gators unleashed a fury of shots to run up the scoreboard.
Jordan scored her second goal of the night (11th of the season) to start the second half stomping to take the 2-1 lead. Tessa Andujar, Brooke Sharp, and Betsy Middleton each followed her up with goals.
“I think our team is pretty confident no matter what,” Burleigh added. “But to face that adversity early just gave us a good chance to show our resilience and kind of bounce back.”
Senior forward Tessa Andujar was a bright spot for the Gators along with Jordan. In addition to Andujar’s second half goal where she chipped Mississippi State keeper Rhylee Decrane, Andujar had two assists.
“She’s an offensive threat,” Burleigh said of Andujar. “I thought they tried to match up with her pretty much the whole game and she still managed to break them down so once again – another great performance.”
Next up, the Gators will travel to Columbia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks next Thursday (October 16).
For audio from the above quotes, click below:
Junior outside hitter Gabby Mallette led the UF offense with 10 kills and freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan posted a .636 hitting efficiency and four blocks as the ninth ranked Florida volleyball squad downed a scrappy Georgia team 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-16) Friday in front of the Orange and Blue faithful for its fourth sweep in conference play. The Gators (11-3, 5-0 SEC) remain one of two teams undefeated in SEC play so far this season.
Playing just their second SEC match in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in the first contest of a weekend home stand, the Gators held the Bulldogs (9-7, 1-3 SEC) to an .022 hitting efficiency as a team, second lowest for UF opponent this season. Florida rattled off 10 straight points, including the last nine under senior libero Holly Pole’s serve to end the first set, with a Pole service ace for set point as the exclamation mark.
Likewise in set two, junior outside hitter Živa Recek served up an ace for set point to give the Gators momentum and a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
Florida’s defense shined in Friday’s sweep, as Pole scooped up 14 digs, while junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino had her second double-digit dig performance of the season, with 10. Senior Maddy Monserez was additionally a staple in the back row with eight digs. The Bulldogs became the ninth opponent this season the Gators have forced to operate below a .200 hitting efficiency, including all five SEC opponents so far.
Gator head coach Mary Wise credited Monserez strong play as one of the keys for success.
“As good as the offensive numbers were tonight, the story of the match was the plays we made in the back row, especially the effort and plays made by Maddy Monserez,” Wise said.
The Orange and Blue now turn their attention to the 19th ranked Texas A&M Aggies (11-4, 3-1 SEC) for a Sunday afternoon match. Florida leads the all-time series, 9-0, and are 7-0 under Mary Wise.
You can catch Sunday’s matinee on ESPN 850 WRUF, with coverage starting at 1:50 p.m.
For postgame comments from Coach Wise, Mackenzie Dagostino, and Gabby Mallette, click below:
Gainesville High Battles Buchholz in “City Championship” Matchup, More High School Football Games Tonight
It’s rivalry week for two big schools in the area.
Gainesville High (3-2, 2-0) will look to beat the Buchholz Bobcats (2-3, 1-0) for the sixth year in a row on Friday night. With a win, the Hurricanes would claim this year’s football “City Championship.” Gainesville beat Eastside High in Week 2, eliminating the Rams from claiming city bragging rights.
“We’ve talked about it at practice, we’re going to try and make it six (wins) in a row,” said Gainesville High head coach Mark Latsko. “We’ve had some city dominance in the recent past and we’re going to try and continue that.”
The Hurricanes are led by the junior duo of quarterback Caelan Christian and wide receiver Dock Luckie Jr.
Luckie has 354 receiving yards and six touchdowns on the year. Christian leads district 6A-5 in both passing yards and passing touchdowns with 958 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“Their quarterback right now is playing pretty well from a standpoint of just being efficient,” said Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore. “He’s getting balls thrown with good velocity and pretty good marksmanship. I think he’s the guy that makes that offense run.”
Kickoff from Citizen’s Field is set for 7:30 p.m.
** Eastside, Hawthorne, Keystone Heights, Lafayette, and Union County are all currently on bye weeks.
** The P.K. Yonge Blue Wave (3-1, 0-1) will look to bounce back when they take on the Interlachen Rams (0-6, 0-1). Kickoff coming at 7:30 p.m.
** The Trenton Tigers (5-1, 2-0) hope to add on to their three-game win streak when they travel to play the Chiefland Indians (3-3, 0-1). Kickoff coming at 7:30 p.m.
** The Columbia Tigers (5-1, 3-0) will go head to head with the Jacksonville White Commanders (5-1, 2-0) at home. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
**The Santa Fe Raiders (3-2, 0-2) and the Crystal River Pirates (1-4, 0-2) will battle for their first district win tonight. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
For audio from the above quotes, click below:
The fifth ranked Florida soccer team (10-2, 5-0) comes home after a pair of victories at Texas A&M and Arkansas, and hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-9, 0-5) Friday night. The Gators will look to extend their winning streak to seven games, as the Bulldogs will look to end a five game losing streak, and notch a win in the SEC.
Savannah Jordan leads the Gator team in goals with nine, and Tessa Andujar leads in assists with seven. For the Bulldogs, Shannen Jainudeen leads the team with six goals, half as many as the team’s total (12) in their 12 games this season.
Gator coach Becky Burleigh weighs in on the youth of Mississippi State and how that helps the Bulldogs.
“That makes them also very dangerous, because they are going to put a lot of people behind the ball, and last year when we played them it took us until the last five seconds of overtime to break that down.”
Florida is home after playing eight of their last 10 on the road. The Gators are 4-0 in the friendly confines of Gainesville, and are outscoring teams 27-8 so far this season.
Burleigh is confident and proud of the team, and of their performances against A&M and Arkansas.
“We really dominated in a lot of areas, much more so than we ever had in the past,” she said.
In 12 games, Mississippi State has allowed 52 goals, and is (1-3) on the road.
Florida averages 2.25 goals per game, and allows .67 goals per game while the Bulldogs average one goal per game, and 2.08 goals against per game.
“There is a lot of soccer left to play,” Burleigh stated earlier in the week, “I think this team has been really good at fighting human nature and not looking forward.”
The match tonight begins at 7 PM.
For audio from Coach Burleigh, click below:
In a statement released today by Huntley Johnson, the attorney representing University of Florida quarterback Treon Harris, the charges brought against him by a female student have been withdrawn.
Johnson’s office released a short statement.
“The young lady who claimed that Treon Harris sexually battered her has withdrawn her complaint.”
Florida football coach Will Muschamp released a statement today saying that Harris has been reinstated to the team but that he would not play this weekend against LSU.
The ninth ranked Gators volleyball team (10-3, 4-0) returns to Gainesville and the friendly confines of the O’Dome for just their second and third conference matches at home. The Gators welcome Georgia (9-6, 1-2 SEC) to town Friday, while 19th ranked Texas A&M (10-4, 2-1 SEC) visits the Gators on Sunday.
The Orange and Blue will look to build on a five-match win streak this weekend, second-longest in the SEC behind Kentucky’s eight match win streak.
Gator head coach Mary Wise knows that the strong play of her defense is one of the reasons for her squad’s success.
“Our defense has been really good,” Wise said. “As our offense continues to emerge with the different players, the one thing we’ve been able to count on is our back row play.”
UF owns a 25-2 edge at home against Georgia, while the Gators have yet to drop a match to the Aggies. Florida and Texas A&M both played at the USC Classic earlier this season in Los Angeles, and both SEC teams downed then No. 6 USC and No. 13 San Diego in the tournament, but did not face each other. The Gators own the series lead, 9-0, and are 7-0 under Mary Wise.
First serve between the Gators and Bulldogs is slated for 7 p.m., while the Gators and Aggies will take to the court at 2 p.m. Sunday.
You can catch both matches on ESPN 850 WRUF.
For comments from Coach Wise, click below:
The Gator football team is gearing up to face one of its biggest SEC rivals, the LSU Tigers, in The Swamp on Saturday night. The Gators have won three of the last four meetings with the Tigers in Gainesville, most recently a 14-6 win in 2012. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel was the starting quarterback for that game, and he will be for this one as well.
Driskel was benched in the Tennessee game late in the third quarter, and was replaced by true freshman Treon Harris. Harris led the Gators to a 10-point comeback victory but on Monday, he was suspended indefinitely after being accused of sexual assault.
However, the attorney for Harris, Huntley Johnson, issued a statement that says in part that “we believe the evidence will show the alleged victim was in fact in the sexual aggressor with not one, but two young men early last Sunday morning.”
Johnson added that “we have previously indicated that we do not believe that Mr. Harris will be arrested or prosecuted. That is because of our experience and the facts of this case. He is not guilty of a crime and he did not mistreat this young lady in any way that night.”
With Harris suspended for the LSU game, that means Jeff Driskel will undoubtedly will be the starter. Driskel has struggled this season posting a 55 percent completion rate, five touchdowns and six interceptions. Gator offensive coordinator Kurt Roper talked about what he thinks will be the key to getting the red shirt junior out of his funk.
“What you try to help him do is get off to a good start. I think you saw that in the last game with some different things with him running the football and some balls on the perimeter like protected screens. I think that’s really the focus, how do you help him get out on a fast start, and the other guys around him have to do the same thing.”
Despite Driskel’s rough season up to this point, the coaches still have faith in him to get it corrected.
“Jeff understands that his number one responsibility is to go help us win a football game,” Roper said. “Our responsibility as coaches is to help him push through that and help him understand that we do have confidence in him.”
The one bright spot for the Gators on offense has been their run game thanks to junior running back Matt Jones. Jones has 372 yards in four games to go along with three touchdowns.
“Right now, what we do well is run the ball pretty well,” Roper added. “We’re a pretty physical football team. Those guys up front are playing good football. I think that’s really our identity right now.”
Another bright spot for the Gators has been the defense. After getting trashed for 672 yards in the Alabama game, the defense clamped down against Tennessee, only allowing three field goals. Florida is ranked fourth in run defense and 13th in pass defense in the SEC. Gator defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin stressed just how important it is to bring the same intensity every game on defense.
“Playing in this conference every week, you better bring your best game and be ready. That’s the message every week regardless of what happened the previous week. Obviously, our older players know that and understand that and we count on them too for their leadership to make sure guys prepare and practice the right way.”
Amid the Treon Harris distractions this week, Durkin says the team hasn’t shown any effects from it in practice.
“I haven’t noticed anything different with our guys in practice. Our guys are used to that, whether that’s good or bad or not. When we come over to practice and get in our meetings and go out on the field, our guys do a great job of focusing on what’s going on.”
The Gators will need to put all of their focus on LSU this weekend in order to secure their third SEC victory of the season.
Kickoff is set for 7:30, but you can catch live coverage starting with the pregame festivities at 3:30 on ESPN 850 WRUF.
For audio of the above quotes, click below:
A star college running back is suspended, Gator sports, NFL news, baseball playoffs and more in our Friday Sports Update…
** University of Georgia star running back Todd Gurley will not play against Missouri Saturday after being suspended indefinitely by the school. Georgia is investigating alleged violations of NCAA rules.
** UCF picks up a 31-24 overtime win over BYU last night. The Golden Knights are now 3-2 on the year.
** In the NFL, Indianapolis wins its fourth in a row, holding on to beat the Houston Texans 33-28.
** In high school football Friday, Gainesville High faces Buchholz in Gainesville in a city rivalry game. Other area games of note are Dixie County-Hamilton County, Trenton-Chiefland, PK Yonge-Interlachen and Crystal River-Santa Fe.
** The Gator volleyball and soccer teams are at home this weekend. Gator soccer hosts Mississippi State Friday while soccer hosts Georgia Friday and Texas A&M Sunday.
** The baseball playoffs continue this weekend as both the American League and National League Championship Series get underway.