Gators to host FGCU in NCAA's first round

Published: Monday, November 7, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 12:27 a.m.

The University of Florida soccer team (16-7, 7-4 SEC) plays host to Atlantic Sun Conference champion Florida Gulf Coast (14-4-2, 7-1-1 A-Sun) on Saturday for NCAA First Round action. Play begins at 7 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium. Florida is a No. 2 region seed for the second consecutive year.

UF is one of 32 programs hosting an NCAA First Round this weekend. Format for the NCAA Soccer Championship is altered this year as the field plays a 1-2-1-2 schedule over the next four weeks instead of a 2-1-1-2 as in years past. In 2011, first round action will be played on the opening weekend of play, Nov. 11, 12 or 13. The second and third rounds of play will be conducted next weekend (Nov. 18 and 20) at eight campus sites. NCAA Quarterfinal action will be held Nov. 25, 26 or 27 on four campus sites with the Women's College Cup set for Dec. 2 and 4 in Kennesaw, Ga.

Saturday's match will be the second meeting this season between the two teams. Five different Gators scored as Florida turned in a 5-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast University on Sept. 11 in the first ever meeting between the two teams. The Gators got goals from Tessa Andujar, Erika Tymrak, Lauren Silver, Caroline Triglia and Lindsay Thompson. This is the Gators' 15th appearance in the NCAA Championships' field.

Florida's Becky Burleigh has been the head coach for each of the program's 17 seasons and is still the only woman to lead her team to the NCAA title in 1998.

Florida received one of the 34 at-large berths to advance to the program's 15th NCAA Championships' field. In last year's NCAA action, Florida reached the second round, falling 4-2 in penalty kicks to Duke. A league-record eight SEC teams received bids – Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Tennessee and South Carolina. That number is second only to the nine berths awarded to Atlantic Coast Conference.

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