Florida soccer splits, volleyball sweeps

Coming off back-to-back victories in South Florida, No. 8 Florida Gators soccer looked to continue their stellar start with a pair of contests against ranked opponents on the road in Knoxville, TN over the weekend. Florida (3-1-0) wound up defeating the No. 18 Texas A&M Aggies (1-2-0) 3-2 in exciting fashion on Friday before suffering their first loss of the season 2-0 to the No. 15 UCLA Bruins (3-0-0) on Sunday.

The Gators jumped ahead 1-0 in the 25th minute when junior midfielder Erika Tymrak corralled a through ball from freshman MF Havana Solaun and pocketed it into the net. The Aggies responded quickly with back-to-back goals from Annie Kunz and Kelley Monogue before UF was able to tie it up at 39’. Senior MF Lindsay Thompson sailed a cross from the right wing to the left post, which sophomore forward Taylor Travis headed in for her second goal of the season.

All was quiet in the second half as the clock began to run down. With just 15 seconds remaining, Florida redshirt junior F McKenzie Barney found a cross in the middle of the field and buried the game-winning goal into the net from six yards out.

For the second straight day, Gators senior goalkeeper Brooke Chancey allowed two goals past her on Sunday, but this time her teammates did not accomplish anything on the offensive end to support her. UCLA scored at 35’ and 72’ to put Florida away 2-0, keeping their undefeated season alive while handing the Gators their first loss.

Back in Gainesville, FL at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, No. 9 Gators volleyball was looking to start the season strong by participating in the Active Ankle SEC/ACC Challenge. The ladies won back-to-back contests in the two-day event to earn the team championship, and the Southeastern Conference defeated the ACC 3-1.

Florida (2-0) swept the Boston College Eagles (1-0) 3-0 on Friday, defeating them in straight sets 25-11, 25-15, 25-16. Senior middle-back Cassandra Anderson and senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel led the team with 11.0 and 10.5 points, respectively, while also combining for 13 kills. The Gators notched 14 aces in the match, and senior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy and sophomore setter Channel Brown combined for 27 assists.

Continuing their good fortunes on Sunday, Florida similarly swept the North Carolina Tar Heels (1-1) 3-0 via straight sets of 25-17, 25-20, 25-14. Senior OH Stephanie Ferrell earned the tournament’s MVP award after registering 20 kills over the weekend (including 13 on Sunday). Joining her on the All-Tournament Team were Jaeckel (double-double with 12 kills, 10 digs), Murphy (match-high 20 assists, eight kills, seven digs) and redshirt freshman libero Taylor Unroe (19 digs combined).

The University of Florida has began its 2011-12 athletic season a combined 5-1 and will look to continue its ways as its two women’s teams take part in five more games this week before the football team takes the field on Saturday evening.

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Florida brings in baseball, volleyball commitments

Selected in the 44th round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs, right handed pitcher Frank DeJiulio (Ocala, FL) turned down a professional contract and decided to return to school. This week during the NCAA’s early signing period, DeJiulio officially accepted his scholarship and committed to the Florida Gators. Standing 6’3″, DeJiulio played one season for Daytona State College after high school and could be used as a starter or closer with the Gators.

Also signing national letters of intent with the Gators this week are setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, AZ) and libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, IN). The two women, standing 5’9″ and 5’7″ respectively, are elite-level players who are both expected to compete as freshmen beginning in 2010. “In Chanel and Taylor, we have signed two elite athletes that bring both high-level skills and a lot of energy to the court,” volleyball head coach Mary Wise said. “Gator fans are going to enjoy watching them play throughout their careers.”

[UPDATE:] Apparently women’s basketball wanted to get in on the action too, signing four high school recruits to 2010 letters of intent on Wednesday. Forward Deaundra Young and guards Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, FL), Kayla Lewis (Decatur, GA) and Brittany Shine (Sacramento, CA) all committed to head coach Amanda Butler, who could not have been more pleased to accept each of them. “There is not another group of players I would want to coach and I cannot wait to begin working with them,” Butler said. “These four players understand how special it is to be a Gator and that’s very important to me. They have great personalities, are super talented and each has a tremendous work-ethic.” Young, 6’2”, is the prize recruit of the class and is rated the nation’s 48th-best player (No. 8 forward) according to ESPN HoopGurlz. She is the niece of LaShawnda Jackson, a former letterwinner with the Florida track and field team. ESPN also ranks Lewis as the No. 16 small forward, Shine as the No. 25 guard and Bonds as the No. 32 shooting guard.

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