Gators test Vols on two fronts
Published: Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
When Florida's volleyball season began, coach Mary Wise knew today would receive special attention on her calendar.
Who: Tennessee (4-3-3, 0-1-2) at No. 20 Florida (7-3-1, 3-0)
"It was circled, underlined," Wise said earlier this week.
The same could be said for soccer coach Becky Burleigh.
Today, Tennessee comes to town. For the Gators, who have struggled against the Vols recently in each sport, today is a big day on campus.
Florida's 10th-ranked volleyball team hosts No. 17 Tennessee at 1 p.m. in the O'Connell Center. Florida's 20th-ranked soccer team hosts Tennessee at 1:30 p.m. at Pressly Stadium.
The Gators will be looking to reverse Tennessee's recent hold on each series. The Volunteers volleyball team has won two of the last three from Florida. In soccer, the Vols have won six of the last nine against UF.
What's more, Florida and Tennessee are traditionally the two teams vying for the SEC title.
Florida's volleyball team has won 15 straight SEC titles, but had to share the 2004 title with Tennessee after losing to the Vols on the final day of the regular season in the O-Dome.
"It's never fun to lose," Florida setter Angie McGinnis said. "But it's real hard to lose to Tennessee."
Tennessee and Florida have also combined to win seven of the last eight SEC regular-season soccer titles, with the Vols claiming the last three.
"It's usually between us and Tennessee," junior KeLeigh Hudson said. "They're one of our biggest rivals. We want to come out and play well."
But Florida teams escaped with close wins Friday. Wise's team held on for a 3-2 win at Kentucky while Burleigh's bunch defeated Georgia 2-1 in overtime after forcing the extra frame on a Hudson goal with just over four minutes remaining in regulation.
The win kept Florida's soccer team atop the SEC standings. The Gators (7-3-1, 3-0) are off to their first 3-0 conference start since 2001.
"I can't remember the last time we were 3-0," Burleigh said. "It means a lot for us at this point in the season."
Tennessee's soccer team, meanwhile, is 4-3-3 and 0-1-2 in the SEC.
Florida (11-2, 4-1 SEC) and Tennessee (13-2, 4-1) are tied atop the volleyball standings in the SEC East.
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