SEC coaches pick Florida to win soccer title


Published: Monday, August 11, 2014 at 12:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 11, 2014 at 12:52 p.m.

Florida is the Southeastern Conference coaches' preseason pick for the 2014 league title, the SEC office released Monday.

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Florida's Havana Solaun, a Buchholz graduate, moves the ball past the FGCU defense during the Gators' 3-1 win at Percy Beard Stadium on Friday, August 23, 2013. (File)

The Gators received 164 points that included eight first-place votes, topping the Texas A&M's 162 points (six first-place votes).

Florida shared the 2013 SEC regular-season title with Texas A&M, as each turned in 9-2 league records. It was Florida's 13th SEC title in the program's 19-year history.

The Gators return the three players placed on the 2013 All-SEC First Team – sophomore forward Savannah Jordan, junior defender Christen Westphal and senior midfielder Havana Solaun. The trio is among the 63 candidates for the 2014 MAC Hermann Award.

Jordan is the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the first in the history of the award to receive it as a freshman.

Jordan's 22 goals in 2013 was just one behind the Division I leaders. Pamela Begić joined Jordan on the 2013 SEC All-Freshman team.

The SEC Preseason Poll (Team, points and first-place votes in parentheses)

• Florida (8) 164

• Texas A&M (6) 162

• South Carolina 136

• Kentucky 129

• Tennessee 125

• LSU 99

• Georgia 84

• Arkansas 77

• Mississippi 71

• Missouri 71

• Auburn 66

• Alabama 51

• Vanderbilt 25

• Mississippi State 14

Points were compiled on a 13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, though each coach was not allowed to vote for their own team.

Soccer is the first Florida team competing this season, as the Gators open the 2014 season on Friday, Aug. 22 when Miami comes to the James G. Pressly Stadium for a 7 p.m. match. Florida continues home action Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. against South Florida. That match will be played at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Admission is free for all Gator home regular-season action.

There are two home exhibition matches before Florida opens on Aug. 23.

Florida meets Florida International on Thursday and Baylor on Saturday. Both matches begin at 7 p.m. at Pressly Stadium.

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