Canes Face Bulldogs In Enemy Territory

Sitting around a speaker phone and anxiously awaiting word on whether they had qualified for the Women's Soccer NCAA Tournament was quite an obstacle. But avoiding an early return back to Coral Gables could be as equally challenging.

The Hurricanes, in the tournament for the first time after just fours of existence, will face the Georgia Bulldogs in a tournament first-round match this afternoon (2:30 p.m.)at Percy Beard Stadium in Gainesville. The Bulldogs are making their third tournament appearance in the last seven years.

Host-school Florida (17-3-1) and Central Florida (14-5) will meet in the other opening round match. The winners will play each other in a second-round on Sunday.

The Hurricanes have never played the Bulldogs, although they have fared well against teams from the Southern Eastern Conference. Miami is 3-2 all-time against the SEC.

Despite dropping six of their final nine regular season matches, the Hurricanes received an at-large bid earlier this week. Miami spent the early part of the year ranked nationally after a 7-0 start, including a 1-0 victory over the Gators in Gainesville.

All-Big East freshman Britney Butcher has quickly put her stamp on a Miami offense that has outscored the opposition 42-33 this year. Butcher, a midfielder, has a team-leading 24 points, including eight goals and eight assists. Midfielder Laura West has also played a key role offensively with nine goals and four assists, including two game-winners. West finished the regular-season with 22 points.

Miami senior Elizabeth Swinson recorded seven wins with a 1.89 goals-against-average in goal for the Hurricanes.

Senior Amy Berbary, who scored nine goals and posted one assists for 19 points on the season, is the main threat in the Bulldogs offense.

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