Gators' soccer team begins defense of SEC title
The No. 6 Florida soccer team will open defense of its title at Georgia tonight. The Gators (6-2, 0-0 SEC) will play the Bulldogs (7-2, 0-0) in Athens at 7 p.m.
This is a serious rivalry. Two of the last five meetings between these two programs have gone to overtime, including the 2010 regular-season meeting in Gainesville. The two teams also met in the 2010 SEC Tournament semifinal round, with the Gators taking a 3-1 win.
Florida head coach Becky Burleigh said there's a different feeling among the team when it is playing a tough rival like Georgia
"I think it's just like, for example the FSU game that we just played,'' Burleigh said. "It is just one game in a 20-game season and the ramifications of that game is just one game. But ultimately I think you get a little more excited about playing a team that you know you've had a great rivalry with over the years. And certainly Georgia and Tennessee fall into that category for us. It's just more fun, it's more energy, the fans are into it. There's a little heckling going on. And it's just all of that that makes it that much more exciting.''
Georgia is currently on a five-match win streak. The Bulldogs played one match last weekend, using their biggest offensive output of the season for a 4-1 win over North Carolina-Greensboro. Sophomore Alexa Newfield, a 2010 All-SEC first team selection, leads the Bulldogs with six goals and four assists for 16 points.
Florida ended non-conference play with a pair of teams which were both receiving votes on the Sept. 13 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll. Florida opened the weekend with a 2-0 win at then-No. 24 Missouri.