Gator soccer faces UCF in NCAAs

The Florida soccer team beat Florida Gulf Coast last Friday in the first round.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 6:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 6:27 p.m.

Maybe the finality of the NCAA Tournament — lose and go home — is just what the 2011 Florida soccer team needed.


Today's game

What: NCAA second round
Who: No. 2 seed UF (17-7-0, 7-4-0 SEC) vs. UCF (12-4-5, 6-2-3 C-USA)
When: Today at 7 p.m.
Where: James G. Pressly Stadium
On radio: AM-850

The 20th-ranked Gators played a complete match in their first-round, 3-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast last Friday, playing the type of offense and defense that head coach Becky Burleigh knows they are capable of playing.

Problem is, UF did not put together consistent efforts of that magnitude during the regular season. Of course, then, there was always another game.

Now, not so much.

“We're really trying to get our players focused on their precise goals for what makes them individually successful,” Burleigh said. “I think if we can keep our focus on that and not think about, you know, the bracket or moving on or anything like that, then we'll be in good shape.”

Florida (17-7), a No. 2 regional seed, will host UCF (12-4-5) tonight at 7 in an NCAA second-round match at James G. Pressly Stadium.

The Knights advanced with a 2-0 first-round win over FIU.

UF had not scored three goals in more than a month heading into the NCAA Tournament, but the Gator offense came through against FGCU, with all three goals coming on well-placed headers — two of them coming after corner kicks.

In addition, Florida played aggressively on defense, limiting the Eagles to just three shots in the win.

“We're finally showing that we can execute off our set pieces, which is really important,” junior All-SEC midfielder Erika Tymrak said. “This week, we're just really focused on maintaining our defense and our offense.”

Tonight's match is the nightcap of a double-header being played as part of a new NCAA format. No. 3 seed North Carolina (12-5-1) will tackle Baylor (15-3-3) in Friday's first match at 4:30 p.m.

The two second-round winners will meet Sunday at 1 p.m. at Pressly Stadium with an NCAA quarterfinal berth on the line.

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