After a long hard fought season of ups and downs, Florida is rewarded with a spot in the SEC tournament and they are set to face seventh seed Vanderbilt in round one.
Vanderbilt and Florida met earlier this season in an SEC play opener that would end in a scoreless draw in overtime. Alexa Goldberg and the defense proved to be a difference maker in that match, posting a combined nine saves for a 110 minute shutdown.
The Commodores put together a strong season outscoring their opponents 30-20, while taking 12.6 shots per game. Raegan Kelly and Madison Elwell have strongly contributed to their success. Kelly leads the team with eight goals while Elwell leads the team with nine assists.
In order for the Gators to succeed in this match, they are going to need to limit the production out of Kelly and Elwell in order to limit the pressure put on their defense.
In the shutout against Vanderbilt earlier this season, the Commodores took nineteen shots and nine shots on net, more than double of what the Gators did. It is going to be very difficult for Florida to replicate the defensive result of that match if they allow Vanderbilt to put that much pressure on Goldberg instead.
Offensively, the key to Florida’s success is to continue what they have been doing since halftime of last Thursday’s match against Georgia: spreading the ball, connecting on open passes, and executing once opportunities are created.
Round one will kick off as Florida takes on Vanderbilt on Sunday at 2 p.m. eastern in Orange Beach. The match can be streamed on SEC Network. The winner will go on to face Tennessee on Tuesday.