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By ROD GIPSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000


TAMPA -- The Sunshine State Conference preseason basketball coaches poll was released last week, just as the Division II national poll came out.

So how can it be that Florida Southern is the national No. 1 team and Tampa is 12th yet the Spartans are No. 1 in the league coaches poll and the Moccasins No. 2?

Easy. The national poll was compiled in the summer based on FSC's 32-2 season last year, its 14-1 SSC mark and run to the Division II Elite Eight.

The coaches poll, however, was compiled just a few weeks ago, giving coaches and sports information directors time to watch as FSC lost its coach, Gordon Gibbons, to retirement and its top player, center Innocent Kere, who gave up his senior season to play in Europe.

Each team received eight first-place votes, but Tampa edged FSC by one point. Lynn, Rollins and Eckerd round out the top five.

WOMEN'S SOCCER: After a week where she posted five goals and two assists in three games, UT junior forward Tai Kirklin was named Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week.

She kept up that level Wednesday, scoring two goals and having two assists in the Spartans' 9-7 win at Rollins. Kirklin's 20 goals are tops in the SSC, and her 107 career points are the most in school history. VOLLEYBALL: Ania Ruiz and Lacey Myers had eight kills Wednesday as the Spartans had little trouble with Rollins, winning 15-9, 15-3, 15-1. The win improves UT to 18-3 and 6-0 in the SSC heading into Saturday Sunshine Network televised match against Florida Tech at 7:30 p.m. The Spartans have never lost to the Panthers in 40 matches.

CROSS COUNTRY: The UT men and women placed second at the Florida Intercollegiate Championships on Oct. 13. Florida Southern had four of the top five runners while UT's top man, Doan Greenidge, was sixth. On the women's side, Tracy Buxton was the lone Spartan as nine FSC runners placed in the top ten. Buxton placed third.

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