Florida looks to gain SEC ground with two key matches ahead
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 10:17 p.m.
With two of the four teams ahead of them in the SEC standings visiting Pressly Stadium for a pair of key matches this weekend, the defending champion Florida Gators have a golden opportunity to move closer to the top of the league ladder.
Who: No. 23 Kentucky at No. 8 Florida, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Pressly Stadium
TV: Sun Sports
No. 8 UF (10-3-1, 4-2), currently tied with No. 24 Ole Miss for fifth place (12 points) in the SEC, hosts No. 23 Kentucky today at 6:30 p.m. and LSU Sunday at 1 p.m.
Both matches will air live on SUN Sports.
The Wildcats (11-2-1, 5-1) are one of three teams, along with No. 7 South Carolina and Texas A&M, tied for second with 15 points — just one point behind the league-leading Tigers (9-3-2, 5-0-1).
Tonight is UF's annual Kicking for the Cure match, with the Gators, who have just five regular-season matches remaining, donning pink in support of breast cancer awareness.
“Kentucky always seems to be up when they play us, and so we know that's going to be a really exciting and fun game,” coach Becky Burleigh said.
“We're really looking forward to it, too, because it's the 'pink' game. That's a pretty meaningful game for a lot of our players who have ties with people who have had different forms of cancer, and we certainly salute those people's efforts in fighting the disease.”
Kentucky has won four in a row and is led by juniors Stuart Pope, who leads the team with nine goals and 23 points (five assists), and Arin Gilliland, the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week and two-time All-SEC pick who is right behind with 22 points (seven goals, eight assists).
LSU also has won four in a row and is unbeaten (6-0-1) over the last seven matches heading into tonight's home game against Ole Miss.
The Tigers are led by freshman Summer Clarke, who has eight goals and 19 points, both team-high marks.
“LSU is on top of the standings right now, and it's up to us to change that,” Burleigh said.
“We have our work cut out for us this weekend with two really great teams.”
UF is led offensively by freshman Savannah Jordan's team-high 13 goals, a mark that is tied for first in the SEC, and a defense that has posted eight shutouts and allowed just 10 goals, the latter tied with Georgia for the second-best mark in the league behind South Carolina's six goals allowed.
Jordan has spent the past week training with the U. S. U-18 National Team but will rejoin the Gators before tonight's match.
Sunday will be Senior Day, with UF seniors Caroline Triglia, Maggie Rodgers, Taylor Travis and Haley Reeb all being honored.