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Andi Sellers, who was celebrating her 21st birthday Friday, scored the winning goal vs. Kentucky.

Friday November 3, 2000UF Soccer Moves to SEC Final with 2-1 Win Over UK

ATHENS, Ga. --

Andi Sellers, who was celebrating her 21st birthday Friday, scored the winning goal vs. Kentucky.

The game-winning goal was the perfect birthday present for junior Andi Sellers, who scored the go-ahead goal off a free kick in the 73rd minute, giving the No. 12 University of Florida soccer team a 2-1 win over Kentucky (15-6) in the Southeastern Conference semifinal round. The win also gives Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh the 200th win of her career. Florida (15-7) will now seeks its fifth consecutive SEC Tournament crown on Sunday, Nov. 5 when its meets Georgia, which advanced to the final by defeating Vanderbilt 2-1 in the other semifinal match. The final match is set for 3:30 p.m. in the Georgia Women’s Soccer Stadium.

The match was scoreless in the opening half, with Florida taking a slender 5-4 advantage in shots into halftime. But the Wildcats came out strong in the second half, taking two shots in the opening three minutes. The second shot, a header by Emily Oetjen at 47:54 set up by a corner kick, gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.

Florida was able to knot the score at 60:46, when junior All-American Abby Wambach pounced on a Kentucky clear attempt in the box to score from eight-yards. The Gators’ second goal was set up when Kentucky’s Melinda Buemi was ejected from the match at 71:56 after being shown her second yellow card of the match. The free kick from that foul was set at the top of the box. Sellers, who was celebrating her 21st birthday on Friday, sent the ball over the UK wall and into the goal. Kentucky was forced to play the remainder of the match a man-down and did not take a shot from that point on.

"I think Kentucky came out with a tremendous game plan. It was so different from the last time we played. The last time we played it was wide-open offense on both sides. This time they stayed really conservative – they were very, very organized behind the ball. They had 10 people behind the ball almost the whole time. And I thought they really held together well in the back," Burleigh said. "When they went ahead, it would have been easy for our team to fold because on our end we talked about how one goal could win this game. Our players easily could have thought that ‘Well, shoot they scored first. That’s kind of scary because that goal could win it.’ But it showed a lot of character on our team’s part to come back and get the equalizer. Then Andi stuck in that set piece. We talk all the time about how set pieces can be the difference in the game and it certainly was tonight."

Burleigh is the second-fastest active Division I coach to reach the 200-win milestone. In her 11 years of collegiate coaching (six seasons at Florida/five seasons at Berry), Burleigh has compiled a record of 200-43-9. North Carolina’s Anson Dorrance is the quickest coach to 200 wins, reaching the milestone after the first match of his 11th season.

"I’ll be happy if we get win No. 3 of the weekend on Sunday," Burleigh said. "Right now we look at this as a brand-new season and right now we are 2-0 in this season. So on Sunday, if we can win that game, then that would be more meaningful than win 200."

For the match, the Gators outshot the Wildcats 20-7. Florida goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren turned in five saves, while UK’s Beth Wells posted six saves.

The SEC Tournament match on Sunday will air live on SEC-TV and Sunshine at 3:30 p.m. The match can also be heard live on the Internet at www.GatorZone.com.

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