UF soccer team top pick to win SEC

Published: Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 at 12:11 a.m.

The University of Florida is the Southeastern Conference coaches’ preseason selection to claim the 2012 league title, the SEC office released Thursday afternoon.

Florida earned 10 first-place votes in the coaches’ poll. League newcomer Texas A&M took the other four first-place votes. During the 2011 season, Florida turned in a record of 17-8, tied for third in SEC regular-season action with a 7-4 record and advanced to the SEC Tournament championship match.

In the preseason voting for the SEC East title, Florida led with 12 first-place votes and 90 points. 2011 SEC champion South Carolina shared second with Georgia at 70 points each. USC also received two first place votes. Kentucky holds the fourth spot at 56, followed by Missouri (42), Tennessee (38) and Vanderbilt (19).

In the West, Texas A&M was first with 89 total points and 12 first place votes. Defending West champion LSU is second at 74 points and two first-place votes. Auburn was picked to finish third in the West with its 73 points, followed by Alabama (53), Mississippi (44), Arkansas (29) and Mississippi State (23).

Points were compiled on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division, though each coach was not allowed to vote for their own team. Each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.

Florida returns nine starters from the 2011 team that reached the NCAA Second Round. The Gators return three seniors who earned All-SEC honors in 2011 – Holly King (2011 All-SEC second team), Erika Tymrak (2011 All-SEC first team) and Kathryn Williamson (2011 SEC first team. A pair of Gators were recognized on the SEC All-Freshman team in 2011 – midfielders Havana Solaun and Annie Speese.

Florida ranks No. 21 in the 2012 NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason poll. Three other SEC members appear in the NSCAA preseason poll – No. T14 Texas A&M, No. 24 South Carolina and No. 25 Auburn. In addition, three more league rivals received votes for the preseason poll – LSU, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Soccer is the first Florida team competing this season, as the Gators open the 2012 season on Friday, Aug. 17 when Miami comes to the James G. Pressly for a match which will air live on SUN Sports at 7 p.m. Florida will play an exhibition match at No. 12 UCF this Saturday at 7 p.m.

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