UF Soccer to play in weekend tournament


Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 at 12:12 a.m.

Florida travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face a pair of top-15 teams in the Nike Carolina Classic. The Gators open with No. 14 North Carolina on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. in a match scheduled to stream on ESPN3. Then Florida faces No. 2 Duke on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 1 p.m.

Both North Carolina and Florida enter Friday’s match coming off season-opening losses. Florida found itself trailing 3-0 at halftime versus Miami in the 2012 debut at the James G. Pressly Stadium on Aug. 17. Freshman Claire Falknor put the Gators on the board in the 58th minute, but the Hurricanes pushed the lead to the final 4-1 margin in the 67th minute. It was the second home-opening loss in the 18-year history of Gator soccer. North Carolina suffered only its fourth season-opening loss in its 34-year history when it fell 1-0 at Portland on Aug. 17. The Pilots scored the only goal of the match off a free kick in the fourth minute to claim its first win ever over North Carolina.

This is the 10th meeting between the two teams and the Gators’ only win over UNC in the 1998 NCAA College Cup final gave UF the national title. This is the second time UNC enters a match with UF without the No. 1 ranking (first was 2006 when No. 5 UNC took a 1-0 win in Durham, N.C.).

Both the Gators and the Tar Heel have players more than seven thousand miles away at the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. Play began Aug. 20 in Japan and the medal matches are scheduled for Sept. 8.

Gator junior transfer Adriana Leon is with the Canadian national team. She joined the Gator team this season after playing the 2010 and 2011 campaigns at Notre Dame. She turned in three goals in Canada’s 6-0 win versus Argentina in the opening match.

North Carolina is without four players. Three are members of the U.S. U-20 team - junior forwards Crystal Dunn and Kealia Ohai and freshman goalkeeper Bryane Hearberlin. New Zealand freshman defender Katie Bowen is competing for the Football Ferns. The U.S. defeated Ghana 4-0 in its opening match and New Zealand started play with a 2-1 victory over Switzerland.

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