Coming off a second-place finish at the SEC Championships last weekend, the No. 3 Gators now know who they will be hosting in the NCAA Gainesville Regional.
On Monday, the NCAA released its regional selections, sending No. 10 Georgia, No. 15 Missouri, New Hampshire, Penn State and North Carolina to Gainesville.
“This team was prepared to stay home for this weekend,” Florida coach Jenny Rowland said. “It’s always nice to know who’s coming and who we will be competing against.”
Three of the teams in the field — Georgia, Missouri and North Carolina — are teams that the Gators defeated during the regular season.
“We’re very excited to have SEC teams back in Gainesville,” Rowland said. “It’s always a great rival, and the team is really looking forward to competing in front of a hometown crowd.”
Florida was originally set to be a regional host last season, but due to renovations at the O’Connell Center, it was pushed back a year.
It will be the first time since 2013 that a regional has been in Gainesville.
To advance to the NCAA Championships, the Gators will have to be one of the top two highest-scoring teams out of the six teams in their field.
Meanwhile, Florida is coming off one of its most solid meets of the season.
And while the team didn’t leave Jacksonville with an SEC title, UF was only a few deductions — mainly from hops and balance checks — away from repeating as SEC Champions.
The Gators are looking to carry that momentum into regionals on April 1.
“We were this close to winning, and we had mess ups,” Kennedy Baker said after the meet. “We’re going to be ready for NCAAs. I think we have what it takes.”
UF head coach Jenny Rowland smiles during Florida's win against Georgia on Feb. 10, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.