The Florida Gator soccer team kicks off SEC Tournament play Wednesday night against Vanderbilt. The Gators come into the tournament as the top-seed after winning the SEC with a 8-2-1 conference record. The Commodores are the 8th seed with a 4-4-3 SEC record.
This was Florida’s fourteenth SEC title and their first since sharing the title with Texas A&M in 2013. The Gators have the most regular season titles with the next highest being Tennessee who only has four.
Despite winning the SEC regular season title head coach Becky Burleigh knows her team still has room for growth.
These two teams met back in September in Nashville where the Gators came away with a 3-2 win. Freshman Sarah Troccoli scored the first goal of the match to put the Gators up 1-0. Vandy would respond with two goals in a span of two minutes to take the lead 2-1. Florida tied things up in the first half after Brooke Sharp put one in the net in the 32nd minute. Only one goal was scored in the second half and that came courtesy of Betsy Middleton. The Junior hit a 22-yard one-timer in the 56th minute to give the Gators the go-ahead goal. Florida leads the all time series 24-2-1.
The Gators last game was last Thursday where they clinched the SEC title with a 3-0 road win over Georgia. Savannah Jordan scored two first half goals to lead the way for Florida. Those two goals pushed Jordan’s season total to 19 and her career total to 60. Jordan is now tied for fourth in Gators history for total goals scored. Her 19 goals on the season leads the SEC and puts her in the top three in the nation.
Jordan was also named the SEC offensive player of the year; this was the second straight year she earned that honor. Senior Christen Westphal took home SEC defensive player of the year honors. This is the second time the Gators have swept individual honors in the SEC (they last did it in 2012).
The Commodores last game was on Monday where they took on Georgia in the first round of the tournament defeating the Bulldogs 2-1. Vandy is led by All-SEC Second team selection Simone Charley who has six goals and four assist this season.
If the Gators get the win over Vanderbilt they would play in the semifinals this Friday against the winner of Auburn/South Carolina. The championship game is scheduled to be held this Sunday.
Head coach Becky Burleigh says that having three games in five days is grueling so the team will need alot of people to step up.
Tonight’s match time is set for 6 p.m. but you can tune into ESPN Gainesville 95.3/850 at 5:50 p.m. to hear Adam Schick and Matthew Stubbington’s live call of the match.