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Wednesday November 5, 2008No. 7 Florida Soccer Comes From Behind to Open SEC Tournament with 2-1 Win Over Alabama


Junior Ashlee Elliott gave the No. 7 Florida soccer team (17-2-1, 11-0 SEC) the go-ahead goal in the 89th minute as the Gators posted a 2-1 win over Alabama (9-9-2, 4-6-1 SEC) in Southeastern Conference Tournament opening round action at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.


In the first meeting between these two teams on Oct. 19, the Gators posted a 6-1 win. But today it was the Tide that scored first, forcing the Gators to come from behind for the fourth time this season in matches versus league opponents. The Tide took the halftime lead when Rosaly Petriello’s pass from high in the Florida half found Kailey Corken on the counter attack. She took advantage of her 1v1 opportunity with UF’s goalkeeper Meghan Berlingo, placing her shot in the far corner at 38:38. The goal extended Corkens’ season-leading goals total to seven.


Florida couldn’t take advantage of its pressure on the Alabama box in the opening half, missing on the final pass to put the ball in scoring position on several occasions. Those missed opportunites was the focus of the Florida coaches’ halftime talk with the team.


“At halftime, they told us we needed to calm down, we had to connect passes, we had to get good crosses and finish them,” UF senior Megan Kerns said. “It was the simple things. We were doing the simple things wrong in the first half.”


Florida found the tying goal in the 67th minute. Florida was pressuring the UA goal, sending the ball and numbers into the box. The Tide cleared the ball out a couple of times, but the Gators gathered up those clearances and put them back into the box. Another clearance came to the feet of left back Nicky Kit about 35 yards above the box. Her serve found the head of Kerns, who placed it in at the far post corner for her 11th goal of the season. The assist was the sixth for Kit.


“It’s kind of funny. Before the game, Nicky came up to me and asked me how many goals I was going to score and I asked her how many crosses she was going to get me,” Kerns said. “It just so happened that we connected on one and we were able to finish it.”


With time in regulation winding down, the Gators were able to capitalize on a free kick in scoring range. With just over two minutes remaining, Ameera Abdullah took a hard shot above the box, but the Tide was called for hand ball just a pace above the box. UA’s goalkeeper Kara Gudmen deflected Kerns’ free kick attempt, but Elliott was there to put the rebound in from four yards. It was Elliott’s fourth goal of the season.


There were many thoughts going through her head when the ball crossed the line.


“I was thinking no overtime. We weren’t ready to go back to Gainesville,” Elliott said. “I was just so excited. We came out really hard and should have scored three goals in the first 20 minutes, but it didn’t fall our way so we had to keep battling. I’m so happy.”


UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said prior to the match it is difficult to play a team twice in a season. Wednesday’s match proved that concern was founded and she hopes the Gators learn from Wednesday’s tight contest.


“We knew it was going to be a hard one just because it was the second time around and teams have time to prepare. I thought early in the game we just missed a lot of very easy opportunities. The lesson is you can’t let easy opportunities slip by thinking that you are going to get more and more,” Burleigh said. “They score a go-ahead goal, they put 11 people behind the ball and try to make it really difficult for us but fortunately we were able to come out with a win.”


For the match, Berlingo turned in her second-highest career saves total of five, including a big save to keep the Tide from taking a 2-0 lead. In the 61st minute, Victoria Frederick got behind the UF backline, who was looking for the offsides call. Berlingo made the stop her 10-yard shot to keep the score at 1-0. UA’s Gudmens also turned in five saves Wednesday.


Next up, Florida will face Georgia in SEC Tournament semifinal action on Friday, Nov. 7. Match time is set for 8:30 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs were 2-1 winners versus South Carolina on Wednesday. Sean Houston will call Friday's match and can be heard live on WRUF AM 850 with simulcasts on Gator Radio - Cox Channel 96/946 in Gainesville and Streaming video of Friday’s match will be offered by GatorVision. Just go to and click on the GatorVision logo for complete information.


Scoring Summary:














UA – Kailey Corken (Rosaly Petriello) 38:38

UF – Megan Kerns (Nicky Kit) 66:14

UF – Ashlee Elliott (Kerns) 88:14










Kara Gudmens





Meghan Berlingo










Statistical Summary:






Shots on goal






Corner Kicks










2008 SEC Women's Soccer Tournament

Nov. 5-9 - Orange Beach Sportsplex - Orange Beach, Ala.

Wed., Nov. 5

Fri., Nov. 7


Sun., Nov. 9










#7 Mississippi







Match 1-

1 p.m. (ET)

LSU 2-1













#2 LSU














#6 Tennessee







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








Tennessee 2-1





#3 Auburn










Match 7 - FINAL 3:30 p.m.

Live SUN Sports


SEC Tournament Champion

NCAA Automatic Qualifier


#8 Alabama







Match 3 - 6 p.m. (ET)

Florida 2-1












#1 Florida








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






#5 South Carolina







Match 4 - 8:30 p.m.

Georgia 2-1 












#4 Georgia




















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