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Ameera Abdullah scored the game winner in the 80th minute at USC.

Thursday October 30, 2008No. 7 Florida Soccer Wins 1-0 at South Carolina; First League Team Ever to Turn in 11-0 SEC Record

COLUMBIA, S.C.

Ameera Abdullah scored the game winner in the 80th minute at USC.

The No. 7 University of Florida soccer team (16-2-1, 11-0 SEC) finished off its undefeated Southeastern Conference season with a 1-0 win at South Carolina (11-5-4, 5-4-2 SEC) Thursday evening in front of a Eugene E. Stone III Stadium crowd of 944. Thursday’s win snapped USC’s home unbeaten streak that stood at 11-0-2, including an unbeaten record of 8-0-2 in 2008.

 

Florida is the first team to post an 11-0 record in league play since 2004, the year the SEC schedule changed to include matches versus all conference teams. Tennessee held the previous high wins total with 10-1 records in the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

 

“I don’t think this group has quite realized what it means to have gone 11-0 in the SEC. We talked about it before the game that there will be teams whether it is a year, five years or 10 years from now that will say ‘We want to be like the 2008 team that went 11-0 in the league,’” UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. “That is a pretty lofty aspiration and I’m really proud of them for accomplishing it.”

 

Did You Know...

Florida won the 2008 Southeastern Conference title with an 11-0 record. It marked the fifth time in the program’s 14-year history that it was undefeated in league play.

Year

Record

2008

11-0*

2000

9-0

1999

9-0

1998

8-0

1996

8-0

* - the league moved to regular-season round robin play in 2004

 

Vanderbilt is the only other league team to post an undefeated SEC record, going 2-0 in 1993 and 4-0 in 1994. Four league teams (Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky, Vanderbilt) participated in soccer in 1993 and 1994. All but Tennessee (first season was 1997) participated in soccer starting in 1995.

Getting the record win wasn’t easy, as this was the Gators’ seventh league win by a single goal this season. After a scoreless opening half, the Gators finally got on the scoreboard at 79:21. Florida brought the ball down the right sideline and Megan Kerns crossed it into the box. Senior Ameera Abdullah took a six-yard shot that USC goalkeeper Mollie Patton saved, but Abdullah was there to put in her own rebound for her seventh goal of the season.

 

“There was a bunch of scuffle in the box and I kicked it the first time and it bounced back off the goalkeeper. I tried to volley it the second time and it worked,” Abdullah said.

 

The Gamecocks out shot the Gators 7-3 in the second half and Florida was able to withstand the USC pressure, which was especially heavy in their late push to get the equalizer.

 

“I thought we really put together a good first half, but in the second half, South Carolina put a little more pressure on us. They were playing a little bit more direct and we didn’t settle the ball quite as well as we would have liked,” Burleigh said. “But in the second half was when we got the goal so we have to be pleased with the 1-0 win on the road in another place that had a long home winning streak.

 

Quality scoring opportunities for either team were few in the opening half. In the 17th minute, the Gators were awarded a free kick about 35 yards above the USC goal. The ball sent in by Abdullah needed a diving save at the near post corner by Patton to keep it from scoring. Later in the half, Caitlin Howard brought the ball down the right sideline. Her serve into the box was punched out by Patton, but the loose ball just missed the two Gators in the box – Kerns and Lindsay Thompson.

 

In the 43rd minute, the Gamecocks took a 40-yard free kick near the left sideline. UF’s Meghan Berlingo came out to make the stop, but was knocked down in the scrum. The ball came to Natalie Aaron at the top of the box who was looking to score when Berlingo was out of goal. But Ashlee Elliott was there to clear the ball off the line and keep the match scoreless for the opening half.

 

Berlingo made a save in the second half that helped keep the Gamecocks off the board. In the 61st minute, the Gators tried to clear the ball out of their final third, but the ball went high, traveling to just above the box and landed right at the feet of Aaron. She took the shot, but Berlingo made the one-handed save at the upper near post corner for a USC corner kick.

 

Florida's 2008 Southeastern Conference Season

Florida experienced it all during its 2008 SEC season. Seven wins were by a single goal, three came in overtime and Florida needed to come from behind three times.

 

 

Date

 

 

Opponent

 

 

Final

 

 

OT

 

Match Tied

Came from behind

One goal win

9/26

Georgia

W, 2-1 OT

 

9/28

Tennessee

W, 5-1

 

 

 

 

10/3

at Vanderbilt

W, 4-3 OT

10/5

at Kentucky

W, 3-2 2OT

10/10

Mississippi

W, 1-0

 

 

 

10/12

Mississippi State

W, 3-0

 

 

 

 

10/17

at Auburn

W, 1-0

 

 

 

10/19

at Alabama

W, 6-1

 

 

 

 

10/23

Arkansas

W, 3-0

 

 

 

 

10/26

at LSU

W, 2-1

 

10/30

at South Carolina

W, 1-0

 

 

 

For the match, Berlingo recorded four saves while Patton turned in three. It was Berlingo's fourth solo shut out of the SEC season.

 

Next up, Florida travels to Orange Beach, Ala., for the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The Gators are the defending SEC Tournament champions. Florida will open play on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. (ET) at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. Florida is the No. 1 seed for the tournament and is the only seed currently known for the SEC Tournament. Tomorrow is the last day of SEC regular-season action. Once those results are in, the SEC will release the tournament bracket Saturday afternoon.

 

Scoring Summary:

1st

2nd

Final

Florida

0

1

1

South Carolina

0

0

0

 

Scoring:

UF – Ameera Abdullah (unassisted) 79:21

 

 

Goalkeepers:

 

 

Minutes

Saves

GA

Florida

Meghan Berlingo

90:00

4

0

USC

Mollie Patton

90:00

3

1

 

Statistical Summary:

UF

USC

Shots

5

10

Shots on goal

4

5

Saves

5

3

Corner Kicks

4

4

Fouls

10

4

Offside

0

1

 

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