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Sunday September 28, 2008No. 16 Florida Soccer Defeats Tennessee 5-1

Gainesville, FL

Five goals by four different Gators, including two goals by senior Ameera Abdullah, gave the No. 16 Florida soccer team (7-2-1, 2-0 SEC) a 5-1 win over Tennessee (3-7, 0-2 SEC) Sunday afternoon in front of a James G. Pressly Stadium crowd of 1,679.

 

Florida’s goal total Sunday was its second-highest offensive output of the season. UF posted a 6-1 win versus Nebraska on Aug. 31. Finishing opportunities this season hasn’t always been easy for Florida, but UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh liked the efficiency shown Sunday.

 

“I think our finishing was really good, especially in the first half. We were pretty efficient,” she said. “I thought the goals were all good goals. Some of them were good individual efforts. Some of them were good combination plays. When you’re scoring like that, good things happen. It changes the game. I think that’s what happened. Being up 3-0 at halftime made the second half a little bit easier.”

 

Abdullah’s first score of the match was set up when the Gators played some give-n-go up the left flank. Tahnai Annis was able to break free of her defender and brought the ball into the box. She touched the ball to her right where Abdullah chested it in at the far post at 18:17.

 

She struck again in the 29th minute when she received the ball from the midfield and started her drive down the left side. Abdullah then entered the box and hesitated to force her marker off balance. A couple more touches later, she placed her 10-yard shot in the upper corner at the far post.

 

The two goals was the fourth multi-goal match of her Gator career and pushed her to 53 career points off of 20 goals and 13 assists. She is the 14th Gator to pass the 50-career points mark in the program’s 14-year history.

 

“That’s terrific. We’ve only had 14 people in the history of our program that have done that. That’s a huge deal. Both of her goals today were terrific. I thought her second goal was a really great, skillful display. The first goal was terrific too.”

 

Joining the 50-point club is an honor, Abdullah said.

 

“It’s a privilege and an honor,” she said. “I’m pretty excited about it.”

 

Florida’s third and final goal of the half came in the 39th minute when Angela Napolitano found the ball loose in the box. She placed it in at the near post from five yards for her third goal of the season.

 

Second half scoring started when Tennessee’s Emily Dowd was fouled in the box in the 64th minute and the Lady Vols were awarded a penalty kick – the first against the Gators this season. Senior Kylee Rossi scored on the attempt for her fifth goal of 2008.

 

Florida pushed the advantage back to three goals just over three minutes later when Ashlee Elliott saw freshman Lindsay Thompson calling for the ball in the box. Elliott sent the ball in from 30 yards where Thompson finished it with a five-yard header at the far post corner. It was Thompson’s second goal of the season.

 

Laura Ray turned in the first goal of her collegiate career in the 82nd minute. Megan Kerns’ pass found Ray near the top of the box. She touched the ball once and then sent a low shot into the center of the net.

 

Last year, Florida’s opening weekend of league play resulted in a pair of losses at Georgia (2-1) and at Tennessee (2-0). The Gators did win their next nine league matches to claim their second consecutive SEC title. This 2008 start is big improvement, but Burleigh knows there is still a long schedule ahead of the Gators.

 

“It’s a lot better than last year’s start at 0-2,” she said. “We knew this was going to be a tough weekend going into it. It doesn’t mean we can take any other weekends off but it’s certainly a better start than last year.”

 

The Gators knew this weekend would be a challenge due to last year’s regular-season results versus UT and Georgia. Abdullah said UF’s confidence is growing and they know their play can get better.

 

“We feel really confident. We’re still not playing our best soccer,” Abdullah said. “If we can pull wins off of these high-caliber type teams then I think it’s nothing but positive.”

 

Next up, Florida continues action versus SEC Eastern Division rivals when it travels to meet Vanderbilt on Friday, Oct. 3. Match time is set for 8 p.m. (ET) at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. Vanderbilt opened SEC action with a pair of losses to Alabama (2-0) and Auburn (3-2). The match can be heard on WRUF-AM 850 with Sean Houston calling the action. Vanderbilt will also be offering a complimentary viewing of the Oct. 3 Florida @ Vanderbilt video stream.

 

Scoring Summary:

1st

2nd

Final

Tennessee

0

1

1

Florida

3

2

5

 

Scoring:

UF – Ameera Abdullah (Tahnai Annis) 18:17

UF – Abdullah (unassisted) 28:47

UF – Angela Napolitano (unassisted) 38:29

UT – Kylee Rossi (penalty kick) 63:39

UF – Lindsay Thompson (Ashlee Elliott) 66:33

UF – Laura Ray (Megan Kerns) 81:37

 

Goalkeepers:

 

 

Minutes

Saves

GA

Tennessee

Jaimel Johnson

90:00

3

5

Florida

Meghan Berlingo

90:00

3

1

 

Statistical Summary:

UT

UF

Shots

17

16

Shots on goal

5

8

Saves

3

4

Corner Kicks

6

2

Fouls

6

9

Offside

5

1

 

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