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South Carolina claimed its first SEC title Friday with a 2-1 win over Florida

Friday October 28, 2011No. 22 South Carolina Takes Sole Possession of SEC Soccer Title with 2-1 win at No. 18 Florida

Gainesville, Fla.

South Carolina claimed its first SEC title Friday with a 2-1 win over Florida

The No. 22 South Carolina soccer team (15-5, 9-2 SEC) claimed sole possession of its first Southeastern Conference title with a 2-1 win over No. 18 Florida (14-6, 7-4 SEC) Friday evening in front of a James G. Pressly crowd of 1,866.

 

Friday’s Scores from SEC Action

Home

Away

Florida 1

South Carolina 2

Alabama 3

Auburn 2

Arkansas 0

LSU 3

Georgia^

Tennessee^

Vanderbilt 2

Kentucky 4

Mississippi 2

Mississippi State 0

^Match suspended at 0-0 with 24:34 left in

first half due to two banks of lights going out.

Resumes Saturday at noon ET

 Friday was a must-win situation for the Gators, as they needed a victory to claim a share of their sixth consecutive SEC title. But they found themselves again behind early, as reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kayla Grimsley put the Gamecocks up in the third minute.

 

The opening goal started when the Gators had a throw-in at midfield but couldn’t gain control of the ball. USC midfielder Kourtney Rhoades got a foot on it and sent the ball into space above the Florida box. There was a jostle for the ball and Grimsley came away with it, took a touch and then scored her 10th goal of the season with a shot to the far post from nine yards.

 

“I thought it was a good individual effort by Grimsley. She did a good job. We didn’t cover very well so it was kind of a one-on-one situation. It was disappointing to give up that early goal,” UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said.

 

South Carolina’s second score also started off a throw-in. The Gamecocks had the throw-in from the Florida half. USC freshman Christa Neary served the ball into the box where Danielle Au headed a lofted shot. Her shot scored from 10 yards at the upper near-post corner in the 22nd minute.

 

“The second goal was a soft goal and we chased it and chased it, but ultimately, until we figure out how to stop giving up soft goals, we will continue to chase games. Did we outplay them? Absolutely. But did they win, and they deserved to win because we gave up the two bad goals. Credit to South Carolina – they came in here and got that done,” Burleigh said. “Ultimately, we hold our destiny in our hands. We’ve given up a lot of bad goals. When you give up bad goals in our sport, you’re going to lose some games.”

 

Giving up an early goal has become an unfortunate recurring event for the Gators, as it was the third goal allowed in the first five minute of the last four matches. Florida has lost three of its last four matches and UF’s final league record of 7-4 contains the most losses in the team’s 17-year history.

 

Florida got on the scoreboard in the 36th minute when freshman Annie Bobbitt took the ball from midfield and brought it down the right sideline. USC looked to get the ball out as she approached the end line, but Bobbitt evaded her defenders and from just a half step from the end line, sent a cross into the box. Senior Tahnai Annis created some space between her and her marker just above the six-yard box. She headed the ball into the near post upper corner for her fifth goal of the season.

 

Junior Erika Tymrak said the Gators kept after USC, but need to start stronger.

 

“We kept on fighting, kept playing soccer. We knew that as soon as we start getting frantic, it’s not going to help our team. We all try to be positive about it and just keep on playing our game. They scored again and we had to keep going. Tahn (Tahnai Annis) got an amazing goal, props to her – that was awesome,” Tymrak said. “Toward the end, we were scrapping for the ball, working our butts off, but we need to do that from the beginning.”

 

Chances were there for Florida to score. In the 53rd minute, sophomore Maggie Rodgers crossed the ball from deep in the USC half, but it just missed Taylor Travis on the far side of the box. Rodgers again sent a nice cross in the 64th minute which this time found the head of Travis, but USC goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo made the stop at the post. Tymrak’s corner kick found senior Lindsay Thompson at the near post where she tried to flick the ball in, but the ball was stopped. Late in the match, junior Holly King tried a header shot off a Tymrak corner kick, but it was blocked.

 

Now the Gators shift their focus to the SEC Tournament, which begins Wednesday, Nov. 2 in Orange Beach, Ala.

 

“South Carolina’s a great team. Congratulations to them for winning the SEC,” Tymrak said. “How we finished this season just makes us want to work that much harder. We have to put it behind us and focus on the SEC Tournament.”

 

The eight-team SEC Tournament bracket will be announced by the league office tomorrow. The Gators have won nine SEC Tournament titles with the last coming in 2010.

 

Scoring Summary:

1st

2nd

Final

 

South Carolina

2

0

2

 

Florida

1

0

1

 

 

Scoring:

USC: Kayla Grimsley (unassisted) 2:12

USC: Danielle Au (Christa Neary) 21:40

UF: Tahnai Annis (Annie Bobbitt) 35:05

 

Goalkeepers:

 

 

Minutes

Saves

GA

South Carolina

Sabrina D’Angelo

90:00

1

1

Florida

Taylor Burke

90:00

4

2

 

 

 

 

 

Statistical Summary:

USC

UF

Shots

10

10

Shots on goal

6

2

Saves

1

4

Corner Kicks

3

6

Fouls

6

11

Offside

1

1

 

Cautions: Jo Dragotta/UF – yellow (64:22), Tahnai Annis/UF – yellow (89:47)

 

End of report

 

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