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Sunday September 24, 2000Gator Soccer Team Defeats No. 13 Virginia 3-2


Jill Stevens scored the first two goals in the Gators 3-2 win over No. 13 Virginia.

The University of Florida soccer team finished a difficult seven-match stretch versus top-20 teams Sunday with a 3-2 win over No. 13 Virginia in front of a Klöckner Stadium crowd of 978. The win ups the Gators’ record to 4-6, while Virginia drops to 5-4. It also marks the Gators’ first win at Klöckner Stadium in three tries. In 1999, Virginia upset Florida 2-1 in overtime in the team’s first visit and UF lost 3-0 to No. 9 Hartford on Friday in the opening match of the Coca Cola Classic.

The Gators, who haven’t scored a goal in the opening half since their Sept. 1 match vs. South Florida, exploded with a three-goal effort in Sunday’s opening 45 minutes. Junior Jill Stevens scored her first two goals of the season in almost identical fashion. She started the UF scoring at 2:33 when Abby Wambach passed the ball from the end line near the goal and Stevens sent it in from six-yards. The two connected on the same play at 22:48 to put the Gators up 2-0. Sophomore Kara Rao gave the Gators a 3-0 lead late in the first half, hitting an eight-yard blast off an UVa clear attempt. It was also the first goal of the season for Rao.

Things got a bit tense for the Gators in the second half when the Cavaliers put in two goals within two minutes. Erin Englehardt scored at 62:59, hitting an eight-yard shot to the left goal. Lori Lindsey put the Cavaliers within a goal at 63:33 after her successful penalty kick.

Since so many Gator names dotted the injury list for Sunday’s match, a total of 17 Gators appeared in the UF lineup during the course of the match. The Gators were without the services of junior All-American Andi Sellers Sunday due to a sprained left ankle suffered in Friday’s match against Hartford. Junior All-American Keisha Bell moved from the backline to wide midfield today as she is still recovering from a quadriceps pull suffered Sept. 8. Sophomore Erica "Boo" Schubert also played 38 minutes at wide midfield despite a groin pull suffered earlier this week in practice.

"This win is huge," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. " I think we showed a lot of guts because we had to play so many people. Players did what they could and then we filled in with everyone else. The players that came in made a difference. It was impressive the effort that the team showed.

"For Jill (Stevens) to step into a starting spot and score two clutch goals was huge," she continued. "We’ve been telling her to show confidence that she can score and she certainly showed that today."

Three Gators were named to the Coca Cola Classic All-Tournament team –Wambach, Stevens and Kellgren.

For the match, UVa outshot the Gators 16-10. UF goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren turned in five saves, while Julie Harris posted three saves.

The Gators open Southeastern Conference play on Friday, Sept. 29 when they play host to Tennessee. Match time is set for 7 p.m. in the Percy Beard Stadium and admission is free.

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