The regular season of NCAA soccer is in its final two weeks of matches.
How They Got Here
For the Florida Gators (10-4, 5-3 SEC), their last two home games of the regular season will take place this week. Thursday night Florida will face Alabama (8-6-1, 3-4-1 SEC) and senior day will take place on Sunday afternoon against Mississippi State (6-9, 1-7 SEC).
The Gators are coming off of a loss against unbeaten South Carolina. The game ended with a penalty kick in double overtime to give the Gamecocks the 1-0 win. Florida head coach Becky Burleigh said despite the loss, her team can learn a lot from that match.
This season, Florida is 3-0 after a loss. When they face Alabama Thursday, they will look to continue that streak.
Alabama’s most recent game was a 3-1 win over Georgia, which broke a three-game losing streak. The Crimson Tide is led by sophomore Abbie Boswell and junior Lacey Clarida who have a combined 13 goals on the season. On the defensive side, their goalkeeper Kat Stratton has averaged only one goal scored against her this year. Florida senior Savannah Jordan said the key to beating Alabama will be to focus on themselves and what they need to do, not the other team.
#Gators action moves to Donald R. Dizney Stadium for Thursday (vs Alabama 6pm) & Sunday (vs MSU 1pm).
— Gators Soccer (@GatorsSoccer) October 19, 2016
Florida has eight seniors on its roster this year, each of which has contributed greatly to the team in their own way. Standouts include Pamela Begic, Erika Nelson, Meggie Dougherty Howard, and Savannah Jordan. Including this season, this senior class has gone 64-17-4 overall and 31-9-5 in the SEC. They have won two regular season SEC championships (2013, 2015) and one SEC tournament championship (2015). In the NCAA tournament, they have gone as far as the Elite Eight (2014). Individually, Jordan has stood out, not only in Florida’s history, but also in NCAA history. In 2013, she won National Rookie of the Year. In both her freshman and junior seasons, she won SEC Offensive Player of the Year. She is second in career goals scored (77) and third in points (179) in Florida’s program history. Burleigh believes this class is a special one because of the way they look out for the entire team.
The seniors will be honored before Sunday’s match against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are currently on a three-game losing streak and will face Tennessee Thursday night before they head to Gainesville this weekend. The match on Sunday will begin at 1 p.m.
Thursday’s home match versus Alabama will be played at 6 p.m. at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Any game played in Gainesville for the remainder of the season (including playoffs) will be held at Dizney Stadium.