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Sunday November 4, 2007No. 22 Florida Soccer Defeats Vanderbilt 3-0; Gators Win SEC Title

Gainesville, FL

A 3-0 win over Vanderbilt Sunday afternoon completed the Gators’ ascension from the bottom to the top of the league standings, as the No. 22 University of Florida soccer team (13-4-2, 9-2 SEC) claimed its second consecutive and eighth overall Southeastern Conference title.

 

Both teams came into Sunday’s match at the James G. Pressly Stadium looking for the win. Florida needed the three points awarded for a win to move past first-place Georgia in the SEC standings. Vanderbilt (6-10-3, 3-6-2 SEC) was ninth in the SEC standings and needed three points to move past Kentucky for the eighth and final berth in the Nov. 7-11 SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala. With Sunday’s win, Florida claimed the SEC title with 27 points, followed by Georgia (26 points) and Tennessee (25 points). Florida enters the SEC Tournament as the top seed.

 

After a tightly played scoreless opening half, Florida struck in the 66th minute. Ameera Abullah took a shot off of Megan Kern’s corner kick, but her shot was deflected. The ball was still alive in the box, but Lauren Hyde’s shot also was deflected. Ashlee Elliott found it in the scrum, placing the eight-yard shot in the far post upper slot. Elliott has scored a goal in each of Florida’s last three matches and now totals four for the season.

 

“It was a jumbled ball. Lauren Hyde tried to take a shot and it got deflected off and I actually asked her to pass it. It was closer to me, so I just took it and ripped it,” Elliott said. “It went into the right hand corner.”

 

2007 SEC Soccer Standings

Final

School

SEC Record

Points

Florida

9-2

27

Georgia

8-1-2

26

Tennessee

8-2-1

25

LSU

5-2-4

19

Auburn

6-5

18

South Carolina

5-4-2

17

Mississippi

4-4-3

15

Kentucky

4-6-1

13

Vanderbilt

3-6-2

11

MSU

2-8-1

7

Alabama

2-8-1

7

Arkansas

1-9-1

4

 

 

 

Win = 3 pts., Tie = 1 pt.

Top eight teams advance to SEC Tournament, Nov. 7-11 in Orange Beach, Ala.

Just a bit over seven minutes later, Florida struck again when Abullah scored on her low 14-yard shot off a one v one situation with the Commodore goalkeeper. Her goal at 72:09 was her second in the last five matches. Stacy Bishop assisted on the goal, sending the ball to Abdullah who was able to outrun her defender to gain control and place the ball in the goal untouched.

 

“I was in the middle of the field and I saw her go so I just took a touch. She did a good job getting to it and getting a hold of it and scoring,” Bishop said. “She really did a good job on that.”

 

The Gators were awarded a free kick right at the top of the VU box in the 74th minute after Audrey Nonemaker was given a yellow card when she fouled KeLeigh Hudson. Stacy Bishop scored on the 18-yard shot, moving her into a tie for the Gators’ goal lead with seven. It was her first free kick goal of the season.

 

“I was just was trying to place it,” Bishop said. “The keeper left the whole side open so I tried to put it in there.”

 

At the end of September when the Gators opened SEC play with two road losses (at Georgia, 2-1; at Tennessee, 2-0), retaining the SEC title seemed unlikely. At no time prior to Sunday afternoon did Florida hold a spot better than third in the league standings. But after that opening weekend of league play, the team strung together nine consecutive wins – including eight shutouts - to claim the title. The script of this season’s SEC title makes it special for UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh, who has led the Gators to each of the program’s eight league titles.

 

“I think this one is really special considering the circumstances in which we won it – losing the first two games in the first weekend and then having to kind of battle back each week. We had to keep the faith that we still would have a chance to win it,” Burleigh said. “We had a little chat as a team right after the Tennessee loss and we just said that we are playing too well for this not to turn around and we just had to keep the faith and work really hard to make it happen. I think the team really bought into that and believed that so they deserve big credit for believing that it was possible.”

 

For KeLeigh Hudson, one of the eight Gators that were honored in the team’s pre-match Senior Day celebration, winning the 2007 title required the team to take it one match at a time after the disappointing opening weekend of league play.

 

“I wanted to imagine that it would happen. That’s what kept everything alive in us to be able to believe that we could come back and win the championship,” she said. “We put those losses behind us and went on and did the best we could. We hoped it would all fall into place if we just kept playing well.

 

“We controlled our own fate. If we won this game, we would win the championship and be able to celebrate it on our Senior Day, at home with all of our fans and family,” she continued. “It is a great feeling to be able to celebrate it at home.”

 

Next up, the Gators open SEC Tournament play with Kentucky (10-6-3, 4-6-1 SEC) on Wednesday, Nov. 7. The Wildcats enter the SEC Tournament on a five-match unbeaten streak and defeated Vanderbilt 1-0 in their regular-season finale on Nov. 2. Match time is set for 6 p.m. at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala. Match statistics plus streaming audio of the UF-UK match can be found on www.GatorZone.com.

 

Scoring Summary:

1st

2nd

Final

Vanderbilt

0

0

0

Florida

0

3

3

 

Scoring:

UF: Ashlee Elliott (Lauren Hyde) 65:07

UF: Ameera Abdullah (Megan Kerns, Stacy Bishop) 72:09

UF: Bishop (unassisted) 73:13

 

Goalkeepers:

 

 

Minutes

Saves

GA

VU

Rachel Bachtel

90:00

5

3

Florida

Meghan Berlingo

45:00

3

0

 

Katie Fraine

45:00

2

0

 

Statistical Summary:

VU

UF

Shots

12

15

Shot on goal

5

8

Saves

5

5

Corner Kicks

2

5

Fouls

18

8

Offside

1

5

 

2007 SEC Women's Soccer Tournament

Nov. 7-11 - Orange Beach Sportsplex - Orange Beach, Ala.

Wed., Nov. 7

Fri., Nov. 9

 

Sun., Nov. 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#7 Mississippi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Match 1-1 p.m. (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6 South Carolina

Match 5 - SEMIFINAL

6 p.m. (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

Match 2 - 3:30 p.m. (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3 Tennessee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Match 7 - FINAL 3:30 p.m.

Live FSN-Florida

 

SEC Tournament Champion

NCAA Automatic Qualifier

 

#8 Kentucky

 

 

 

 

 

 

Match 3 - 6 p.m. (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Match 6 - SEMIFINAL 8:30 p.m. (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

#5 Auburn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Match 4 - 8:30 p.m. (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4 LSU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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