Voluntary in-person athletics activities resumed on SEC campuses on June 8. However, NCAA regulations permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise these on-campus workouts.
With organized practices still prohibited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s coaching staffs have kept busy on the transfer front, bringing in talent from across the nation to improve their respective rosters.
Here’s a look at the latest additions to Gators sports teams, excluding football and men’s basketball:
Forward Emily Sullivan is the program’s first graduate transfer since Paulina Hersler made the switch from UCLA for the 2017-18 campaign.
Sullivan played in 52 games with North Carolina, appearing in 21 contests as a freshman and 22 as a sophomore. She missed her entire junior year after undergoing shoulder surgery and only played nine games as a redshirt junior before suffering a season-ending foot injury in practice.
The Evansville, Indiana, native averaged 2.2 points per game, 1.8 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in her four seasons with the Tar Heels. She figures to play a more prominent role at Florida, especially with forwards Zada Williams and Paige Robinson no longer at coach Cam Newbauer’s disposal after graduating from UF.
“Emily brings a level of maturity and experience to our roster, and we are excited to welcome her to our team,” Newbauer said in a release. “Having competed for four years in the ACC, she will add to our culture with her personality and drive to take our program to the next level.”
Guard Yasmeen Chang, who spent her freshman year with the Miami Hurricanes, has also decided to join the Gators. She played in 18 games at UM, registering 1.4 points and 0.9 rebounds in 7.1 minutes of action per game.
“I’m super excited for this opportunity, I’m really ecstatic,” Chang said in a release. “I was familiar with the program and knew what being at Florida had to offer dating back to when I was in high school.”
Unlike Sullivan, however, Chang will sit out the 2020-21 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules.
This will give the incoming sophomore some time to develop under the likes of redshirt senior guard Kiara Smith and sophomore guard Lavender Briggs, who led the team in scoring with 15 points per game last season.
Coach Becky Burleigh had five midfielders from last season’s roster graduate: Sammie Betters, Haillie Lower, Parker Roberts, Tess Sapone and Alex Stubblebine.
Roberts will be back for the Gators in 2020 while she completes her master’s curriculum. The other four, however, won’t be returning.
So, Burleigh snagged midfielders Shaye Seyfartt from Villanova and Ansley Frazier from UMass to fill the holes at the heart of her lineup.
Seyfartt played in all 38 of Nova’s matches during her two-year tenure with the program, starting in 33 of them. The Ringoes, New Jersey, native registered two goals with the Wildcats.
While Seyfartt handles much of the defensive duties in the middle of the park, Frazier is more of a playmaker. In her only season with the Minutewomen, Frazier was selected to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team behind her one goal and conference-leading 12 assists.
Florida enjoyed a 6-2 start to the 2020 campaign before COVID-19 ended it prematurely.
The team, ranked 13th in the nation by Inside Lacrosse heading into the season, found itself at the No. 6 spot by the time spring sports were canceled.
Coach Amanda O’Leary found a way to keep things rolling in what many believed to be a rebuilding year without former players such as goalkeeper Haley Hicklen, midfielder Sydney Pirreca and attacker Lindsey Ronbeck—all of whom were regular starters during their time at UF.
The 11-year Florida coach has a knack for attracting the best players across the nation, and she may have found another mainstay to her lineup in midfielder Paisley Eagan, who spent two seasons at Boston College.
Eagan was redshirted in 2019 but started all seven of BC’s games in the shortened 2020 season. She posted one goal, caused five turnovers and won six draw controls for the Eagles.
The three-time US Lacrosse High School All-American has the potential to shine at UF, especially under the tutelage of assistant coach Taryn VanThof, who played midfielder for Loyola Maryland and the US Women’s Lacrosse National Team before coming to Gainesville.
Men’s Swimming and Diving
UF’s season was cut short due to COVID-19, but not before it took home its eighth-consecutive SEC title in February. In order to repeat as conference champions this upcoming season, coach Anthony Nesty will have to replace the 11 seniors that were on his roster.
In April, the Gators welcomed two transfers that will be available immediately for the 2020-21 season: Erik Harper and Anton Svirskyi.
Harper swam at the University of Hawaii for two years, competing in six meets as a freshman and earning two eighth-place finishes against Minnesota in the 50 free and 200 free during his sophomore season.
Svirskyi attended Saint Peter’s University last year, competing in only track and field. He made a name for himself in Ukraine, however, accumulating 38 gold, 12 silver and four bronze medals in several diving competitions.
Nesty also strengthened his team with the addition of Leonardo Garcia in June. Garcia will have to wait another year to don the orange and blue, though, with NCAA transfer rules forcing him to sit out the 2020-21 campaign.
In his lone season at Missouri, Garcia qualified for the NCAA Championships with a sixth-place finish on the 3-meter springboard.
“He is a special diver with lots of drive and talent, as well as being a great young man,” diving coach Bryan Gillooly said. “Expect some fireworks when he dives because he is capable of perfection.”
Junior John Axelsen announced his decision to go pro in May, foregoing his senior season with the Gators. Much to coach J.C. Deacon’s relief, Florida added graduate transfer Carlos Bustos from Lynn University later that month.
Bustos helped lead the Fighting Knights to consecutive NCAA Division II national titles in his sophomore and junior seasons. The Santiago, Chile, native also earned NCAA Division II First Team All-American honors as a senior thanks to four top-10 finishes.
He will be allowed to compete next season for UF along with fellow Lynn transfer Giovanni Manzoni, who committed to the Gators in April.
Manzoni was named a PING Second Team All-American and a PING Freshman All-American in his first season of collegiate golf. He also played in all seven tournaments for the Fighting Knights as a sophomore, placing inside the top 30 each time
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