GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Gators men’s lacrosse team is headed north to take on Georgia and Clemson in an SELC cross-regional road trip this weekend.
The Gators, who compete in the SELC’s Southeast region, will first head to Cumming, Ga., to face the Bulldogs out of the Southwest region at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
Less than 24 hours later, Florida will make the short drive to Clemson, S.C., to face off against the Tigers out of the Northeast region. Clemson and Georgia will wrap up the round-robin on the Tiger’s home turf on Sunday.
The Gators sit at 2-0 after defeating in-state MCLA Division II opponents North Florida and Florida Gulf Coast in back-to-back weekends. Both games were high-scoring affairs, and Florida leaned heavily on a high powered offensive attack lead by senior attackman Zach Salazar and sophomore attackman Sam Khalil.
The duo’s combined 23 points through the first two contests has allowed the Gator offense to average over 15 goals a game thus far.
“We’re very fortunate to have a wealth of challenging MCLA opponents in our state at both the Division I and Division II level”, said Florida coach Garrett Hanrahan. “In some camps throughout the country, cross-divisional match ups aren’t held in high regard, but we don’t view it that way.
“UNF is a hungry team looking to make a splash in their first year back in the association, and they’ve assembled a very talented roster that includes guys with experience at the NCAA D-I level. FGCU is a well-coached team fresh off an SELC D-II championship that currently sits in the MCLA Coaches’ Poll Top 10. We know that what we do at the MCLA D-I level will ultimately define our season, but passing these first two tests against high-quality opponents is a great start to our 2018 campaign.”
Further – and likely tougher – tests await the Gators at the end of their interstate bus ride. Clemson, Florida, and Georgia came in at fifth, sixth and seveth, respectively, in the SELC-I preseason poll.
They were the first three teams behind established conference powers Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Liberty, and Florida State. Could a legitimate challenger to these top four emerge from this weekend’s round-robin?
“I know that all three of these teams this weekend are working to disrupt the current balance of power in the conference,” Hanrahan said. “Buff and Billy both do an excellent job with their respective programs, and we are very confident in the championship culture that we are building at Florida. For us, as cliché as it may be, it’s about winning one game at a time. If you do that, the big picture goals fall into place.”