2009 Florida Gators Soccer Preview
What can you say about the Florida Lady Gators other than they have simply become the class of the conference. In 2008, the Lady Gators faced off against a fearsome schedule featuring matchups against some of the best nonconference opponents in the nation, in addition to its tough SEC slate. The Lady Gators came out on the other side with a perfect 11-0 record en route to a 19-4-1 record overall.
Thanks to ukathletics for the photo.
After a slow start to the 2008 campaign in which the team went 1-1-1 (including a loss to the University of Central Florida), the Lady Gators seemed to hit their stride with a dominating 6-1 victory over Northwestern. Following that win, the team had two shutouts over ranked opponents, Florida State and Illinois, and while the Lady Gators had a stutter-step against Portland, their victory over ranked Kansas kicked off a 13 game winning streak. What may be the most impressive about the performance of the Lady Gators in 2008 could be the fact that this team seems to play at its very best when the situation is the most critical as evidenced by its excellent record in overtime, a period in which, in general anything can happen.
Offensively, the Lady Gators did a good job in the verse of flying the scoring period. The team leader in scoring one is Megan Kerns, who had 35 total points, and also led the team in goals with 13. On the Ameera Abdullah (25 points) and Tahnai Annis (22 points) were also key contributors to the Florida scoring attack. In the net, Katie Fraine and Meghan Berlingo essentially split starting goaltending duties, with each starting at least 12 games. Berlingo was the more successful of the two over the course of the season allowing only 0.69 goals per game compared to Fraine's still solid 1.22 goals per game.
The University of Florida Lady Gators have been the preeminent soccer program in the Southeastern Conference since beginning conference play back in 1995. The team is routinely participating in the SEC championship finals and is a regular conference champion, and the program has evolved into one of the best soccer programs in NCAA.
In its debut season back in 1995, Florida got off to a hot start, going 14-4-2 overall, 6-1-1 in the SEC. And as good as that was, it didn't take long for the Lady Gators to up the ante. In 1996, the team went 22-3 with a perfect 8-0 record in the SEC. Florida that year also won the SEC tournament and went to the NCAA tournament. After a strong year in 1997, Florida went even one step further in 1998 when the team went 26-1 overall, won the SEC tournament, and eventually, won the NCAA tournament.
Since then the Lady Gators soccer team has continued its SEC dominance. The team has finished with winning record every season except for one (2002). And the team has made the NCAA tournament every year since as well except for one (again 2002). Becky Burleigh has stood by the team throughout its entire rise in the SEC.
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Thanks to bobbyuggles at flickr.com for the picture.
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