Gators Picked #1 In SEC.

The University of Florida soccer program was picked by the league coaches to defend its Southeastern Conference team title in 2007.

Florida earned nine first-place votes, while Georgia, Kentucky and Vanderbilt each received one vote. The Gators claimed their seventh SEC title in 2006 with a 7-1-3 league record.

In the preseason voting for the SEC East title, Florida led with nine first-place votes and 57 points. Tennessee was second with 47 points. The other East teams receiving a first-place vote included Vanderbilt (34 points), Georgia (30 pts.) and Kentucky (27 pts.).

In the West, Auburn was first with 58 total points (eight first-place votes) compared to Mississippi’s 50 points (four first-place votes).

Points were compiled on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division, though each coach was not allowed to vote for his of her own team. Each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.

“The level raises every year in the SEC and I expect 2007 to be very challenging league season. There are no off-nights in the SEC – we will need to be ready for every match,” UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said.

Florida returns 10 starters from the 2006 team that reached the NCAA Round of 16. The Gators scored 47 goals in 2006 and the team returns the scorers for 45 of those goals. Senior All-American Stacy Bishop led the Gators with 12 goals, 6 assists and 30 points in 2006. She was followed closely by junior All-American Ameera Abdullah with 11 goals and 24 points.

Florida will be tested in a pre-season exhibition match versus Texas A&M, set for Saturday, Aug. 25. Match time is set for 6 p.m. at the James G. Pressly Stadium. Saturday’s exhibition match features two NSCAA Preseason top-15 teams, as Texas A&M is No. 5 and Florida checks in at No. 13 on the list released Aug. 14. Both teams are the defending champion in their conference, as Texas A&M took the Big 12 crown with its 9-1 record.
2007 SEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)
SEC Champion: Florida (9), Georgia (1), Kentucky (1), Vanderbilt (1)
2006 Standings and Records
Team SEC Pts. H A Div. ALL Pct.
EASTERN DIVISION (2007 Votes)
Florida!^ (9) 7-1-3 24.0 4-1-0 3-0-3 2-1-2 14-6-5 .660
Kentucky# (1) 6-3-2 20.0 4-1-1 2-2-1 3-1-1 14-7-3 .646
Tennessee 6-3-2 20.0 5-1-0 1-2-2 3-1-1 12-7-4 .609
Vanderbilt (1) 6-3-2 20.0 3-1-1 3-2-1 2-3-0 10-4-7 .643
South Carolina 5-2-4 19.0 3-0-3 2-2-1 1-2-2 11-6-5 .614
Georgia (1) 5-6-0 15.0 3-2-0 2-4-0 1-4-0 10-9-0 .526
WESTERN DIVISION (2007 Votes)
Auburn^ (8) 5-3-3 18.0 3-2-1 2-1-2 3-0-2 11-6-3 .625
Mississippi (4) 4-2-5 17.0 2-0-3 2-2-2 3-0-2 8-7-5 .525
LSU 4-4-3 15.0 3-1-2 1-3-1 3-1-1 9-8-3 .525
Arkansas 3-6-2 11.0 1-2-2 2-4-0 2-2-1 10-7-2 .579
Alabama 1-10-0 3.0 1-4-0 0-6-0 1-4-0 5-14-0 .263
Miss. State 1-10-0 3.0 1-5-0 0-5-0 0-5-0 2-16-0 .111
!-2006 SEC Champion; #-2006 SEC Tournament Champion; ^-2006 Eastern Division Champion;
^- 2006 Western Division Champion

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