Florida volleyball, soccer teams facing unfamiliar roles as underdogs
Both are playing the role of underdog for a change.
The Gator volleyball team has won 18 consecutive SEC regular season championships, but the Gators are in a dogfight for the SEC East title with Kentucky and Tennessee.
"I think if we could vote, we'd all say we'd rather be the hunted,'' UF coach Mary Wise said. "But right now, we can only control what we can control. We can't control what happens with the other teams. And so the goal remains to be playing our best volleyball at the end of the season. We are a better team now than we were back in late August.''
The Gators return home for a match tonight against LSU, then will host the "Serving Up a Cure'' match Friday night against Arkansas at 7 p.m. The event will help support the Children's Miracle Network.
The defending SEC champion women's soccer team needs victories in its final three games to repeat as SEC champions.
The Gators will host LSU tonight at 7, then will play at Arkansas on Sunday, then close out the regular season on Oct. 30 at home against South Carolina.
Coach Becky Burleigh said she feels like the position the team finds itself in right now has made it stronger mentally.
"In a way it kind of gives you a good mentality because we're the underdog,'' Burleigh said. "I can't think that anyone is going to look at our remaining schedule and think we're the favorites to win the SEC. But I think if you're an athlete at Florida, there's always pressure on you. Everybody wants to win and winning the SEC is a good way to start. Every game we go into, for example Georgia (last weekend) was a record crowd. And they had cheerleaders and the "Beat Florida'' t-shirts. And the band. We see that all the time. Usually we have to take everybody's best shot''