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Thursday, May 23, 2024
<p>UF coach Becky Burleigh celebrates with her team follow a 4-0 win against Arkansas on Oct. 25, 2015, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.</p>

UF coach Becky Burleigh celebrates with her team follow a 4-0 win against Arkansas on Oct. 25, 2015, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

After securing the program’s 11th Southeastern Conference Tournament title, the No. 6 Florida soccer team claimed a No. 2 seed for the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

The Gators found out Monday that their impressive record combined with SEC regular season and tournament titles were enough to secure a top spot in the tournament, which will be Florida’s 19th NCAA appearance.

UF (17-3-1, 8-2-1 SEC) is riding a nine-game winning streak heading into the postseason tournament and will take on Western Michigan, the winners of the Mid-Atlantic Conference, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

It will be the first time in program history that the Gators will take on the Western Michigan Broncos.

Coach Becky Burleigh said she thinks that the experiences her team has had this season have the Gators prepared for the tournament stage.

"This group has had a lot of dress rehearsals for things," Burleigh said.

"They’ve had a lot of chances to work on what it feels like to be in those pressure situations."

Last season, the Gators received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and were knocked out in the quarterfinals round when they traveled to Palo Alto, California, falling to Stanford in a penalty kick shootout 4-3, after tying the game 2-2.

If the Gators advance past the first three rounds of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, Florida will have the chance to again travel to California to take on the No. 1 seeded Stanford Cardinal, in the case that the latter team wins in the first three rounds of the tournament.

The NCAA Tournament starts on Nov. 13 at multiple locations around the country and culminates with the Women’s College Cup in Cary, North Carolina, on Dec. 4 and Dec. 6.

Burleigh isn’t focused on the past or the potential opponents, but rather she wants her team to focus on continuing to grow.

"The most important thing for us is that we win the interval," Burleigh said.

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"The interval is from now until we play again. We feel the teams that are going to win this thing in the big picture are the teams that continue to get better even during this part of the season."

Burleigh said the prospect of hosting portions of the postseason tournament are nice, but the team can only control their own personal performances and have to put in the work on the field to succeed down the stretch.

"Seeding, whether you’re playing at home, the opponents, all of that is just totally out of our control," Burleigh said.

"We’ve done what we can to control that with the results during the season and now we just await it."

 Follow Ryan Summers on Twitter @RyanSummers18

UF coach Becky Burleigh celebrates with her team follow a 4-0 win against Arkansas on Oct. 25, 2015, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

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