#10 Florida Women's Soccer 2013 Preview

Florida Gators

Overall Rank: #10
Conference Rank: #1 SEC
#10 Florida Women's Soccer 2013 Preview
Florida Team Page


The Florida Gators return six starters from a Southeastern Conference championship run in 2012 and another trip to the Sweet 16. The Gators have been a model of consistency over the years under veteran head coach Becky Burleigh. This year should be no different as the key conference matches are at home and, if players like Havanna Solaun can lead the attack, the Gators should be in the mix once again for a run at the College Cup.

2012 Record: 19-5-1, 11-2-0
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Becky Burleigh

When the Gator attack was rolling last season, it was fun to watch.  The Gators racked up 54 goals and did a fantastic job in wearing down their opponents in the second halves of matches in 2012. Junior Havanna Solaun is the top returning all-around player statistically as she had seven goals and eight assists in 2012 to pace the balanced attack for Florida. Midfielder Annie Speese will compliment Solaun and provide another dangerous scoring threat for the Gators. Speese had six goals last season and, along with Solaun, will try to pick up the slack created by the graduation of Ericka Tymrak, Holly King and Jo Dragotta, who combined for 21 of the 54 Florida goals in 2012. Christen Westphal and Taylor Burke will be the keys to the defense for the Gators. Westphal was Second Team All-SEC in 2012 and was very instrumental in the two key wins over North Carolina and Duke. Taylor Burke returns in goal after starting all 25 matches in 2012. Burke was very consistent all year long in her play with a goals against average of .86.
Florida will need to come out stronger in the first halves of matches in 2013. The Gators only outscored the opposition 18-13 in the first halves of matches in 2012. Those type of starts and giving up early goals puts unnecessary pressure on their attack. If the Gators can balance out their goal differential to be closer to their 34-9 difference in second halves then this will benefit them greatly in tightly contested SEC matches. The inability to convert early chances cost them in the Sweet 16 against Notre Dame as well when the Irish took advantage of its corner kick to get an early goal. The other question is who will step up to replace the leadership of the departed senior class led by Ericka Tymrak and the 71 matches won during their time in a Gator uniform.  That will be an interesting storyline to follow early on in the season for the Gators.

Final Projection:
The Gators will have plenty of early tests in preparation for the grind of the SEC schedule. They get Florida State on August 30th in Gainesville in one of the showcase matches of the non-conference schedule. The Gators will have seven NCAA Tournament teams on the 2013 schedule. The conference schedule is highlighted by what should be the match of the year in the SEC on October 27th when SEC West favorite Texas A&M comes to Gainesville. The Gators were able to get a result in College Station in 2012, and seemed to be able to deal with the Aggies high-pressure style just fine. The overall veteran level of experience on this team and playing key matches at home should push the Gators down to that last match with Texas A&M for the regular season conference championship. In addition, the Gators should be in the conversation for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament and threaten to make a run at the College Cup in 2013.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Havanna Solaun, Junior, MF, 7
Assists: Havanna Solaun, Junior, MF, 8
Shots: Havanna Solaun, Junior, MF, 42
Saves: Taylor Burke, Junior, GK, 42

Madness 2013 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#74 Savannah Jordan


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