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Home action for Florida volleyball, soccer programs

Special to Gatorsports.com

The No. 4-ranked Florida volleyball team makes its home debut Friday night against Alabama.

The Gators (2-0) opened the season last week with a sweep at Auburn. The Crimson Tide enter the 7 p.m. match at 0-2. The SEC Network will carry the match live from the O'Connell Center. The Gators and Tide play again at 3 p.m. Saturday.

To comply with physical distancing requirements for COVID-19, Exactech Arena will host a limited percentage of its listed seating, putting the capacity at 2,500.

In accordance with campus guidelines, face coverings (over the nose and mouth) will be required for all fans throughout the entire game. This includes when fans are entering and exiting the arena. Fans may only remove face coverings while actively eating or drinking. Failure to comply with this important health guideline could result in loss of ticket privileges.

Tickets will be sold in pairs of two or four in a single-match format to comply with campus physical distancing guidelines. Those tickets can be purchased online or over the phone at 375-4683. 

SOCCER

Florida (1-3-1) closes 2020 home action Friday when Tennessee comes to Donald R. Dizney Stadium. This match moved to Friday after the Missouri at Florida football game moved to Saturday.

Admission is free for the 6 p.m. match, but attendance is capped at 368 to ensure social distancing. It can be streamed live on SEC Network+

The Vols (2-3-1) are one of two teams alive in the race for an SEC East division title. If the Vols record back-to-back wins over Florida and South Carolina, they would finish with 13 points in divisional play and surpass the Gamecocks on the table as SEC East champions.

The Gators look to have players and coach Becky Burleigh available vs. UT, a team they own a 18-10-3 series record against. A short-handed Florida team fell 4-2 at No. 11 South Carolina last Sunday. Seven Gators — and Burleigh — did not make the trip to Columbia, S.C., due to injuries or COVID-19 protocol.

CROSS COUNTRY

Florida will compete at the SEC Cross Country Championships on Friday beginning at 10:05 a.m. ET at the University Club of Baton Rouge, La.

The Gators will run in the women's 6,000-meter (6k) race at 10:05 a.m. and the men's 8k race at 11 a.m. in what will be the final meet of the fall for both teams.

This year's meet will be televised on SEC Network along with live results being available to follow the meet.

SWIMMING AND DIVING

The Florida men's and women's teams open their pool  season at Georgia starting at 10 a.m. Friday.

For the women, Florida enters coach Jeff Poppell's third season at the helm of the program as the No. 10 team in the opening College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Poll for the second straight season. Last year, UF jumped all the way to the top spot in the second poll after a 5-0 start and stayed ranked No. 1 for almost two full months.

The 2020-21 squad will feature 23 returners and 12 newcomers. Eight All-Americans, four All-SEC honorees and a pair of All-SEC Freshman Team members will highlight returners who posted an overall record of 8-1 last season (best since 2007-08) and back-to-back second-place team finishes at SEC's.

For the men, the Gators will open two-time SEC Coach of the Year Anthony Nesty's third season ranked No. 3 in the preseason CSCAA Top 25, the highest of any SEC team.

This year's team will consist of 25 returners from their eighth-straight SEC Championship campaign in 2019-20. Among the returners are 12 All-Americans, 10 All-SEC team honorees and a trio of SEC All-Freshman members.