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Gators celebrate one of Tahnai Annis' (front left) two goals in Florida's 3-0 win over FGCU in NCAA Opening Round play.

Saturday November 12, 2011Florida Advances with 3-0 Win Over Florida Gulf Coast in NCAA Soccer Opening Round

Gainesville, Fla.

Gators celebrate one of Tahnai Annis' (front left) two goals in Florida's 3-0 win over FGCU in NCAA Opening Round play.

Two Gator seniors used their heads Saturday to give No. 2 region seed Florida (17-7, 7-4 SEC) a 3-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast (14-5-2, 7-1-1 A-Sun) in NCAA Soccer Opening Round action Saturday evening in front of a James G. Pressly Stadium crowd of 1,025.

 

Other NCAA First Round Results from Saturday

Away

 

Home

 

Utah State

1

Auburn

2

Washington State

1

Kentucky

1 (WSU advances 4-2 PK)

Tennessee-Martin

0

Memphis

7

Virginia Tech

1

West Virginia

0

Long Beach State

1

Pepperdine

0 OT

Ohio State

3

Tennessee

0

California

1

Santa Clara

1 (UC advances 4-3 PK)

William & Mary

1

North Carolina

4

Harvard

0

Boston University

3

Texas State

0

Baylor

3

 

 

 

 

See entire NCAA Division I bracket here

These two teams had faced off in Gainesville on Sept. 11, with the Gators taking a 5-0 win. Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh knew that margin of victory was unlikely for this second go-around with so much on the line.

 

“I’ve known Jim Blakenship (FGCU head coach) for a long time and have coached against him forever,” Burleigh said. “I knew he wasn’t happy with their performance here in Gainesville the first time, and knew they would come back harder this go round.”

 

For the Eagles, it was their first NCAA Division I post-season appearance – not only for the soccer team, but for the entire FGCU athletic program. The FGCU program received official notice on Aug. 11 that it is now a NCAA Division I program after waiting out the four-year DI transition period.

 

Florida knew it needed to be prepared for its opening round match against a motivated opponent who was making program history. There were some game aspects focused on in this week’s practices and Burleigh liked that the Gators were able to show results from that devoted training time in today’s match.

 

“For us, the main objective going into tonight was to advance, and we did that, so that was all good,” Burleigh said. “Probably more important than that for us though, was to start off this post season doing some of these things that we really emphasize – bringing a strong defensive presence and executing when we can offensively. Two of the three goals were set pieces. Those were some things we spent time on, both offensively and defensively. Moving onto the next round was our goal, and we did that.”

 

Tahnai Annis headed in the Gators first goal in the 16th minute. Florida was awarded a corner kick and Erika Tymrak sent in the ball to the far post. Junior Holly King came flying in and got a head on the ball but it deflected up and back to Tymrak located on the end line. She let the ball bounce twice and then took a touch away from the end line before sending a right-footed cross into the box. The ball found the diving head of Annis, located at the top of the six-yard box, and she scored at the far post corner.

 

Annis saw Tymrak eying her options so she knew she needed to get in a spot where she could make a play on the ball.

 

“I was just trying to get in the best possible position to get a touch on it,” Annis said. “I was trying to separate myself from a defender so that Erika Tymrak could find me.”

 

Another set piece and another header for Annis put the Gators up 2-0 at the 68th minute. Tymrak was fouled by FGCU’s Brittany Burt on the top edge of the Eagles defensive third. Annie Speese’s left-footed service found the head of Annis in the middle of the box and she redirected the ball into the far post corner for her ninth goal of the season, which stands second on the team.

 

Free kicks get a lot of time in training, Speese said, and what she is told during those sessions ran through her mind before the strike.

 

“We put a lot of work into that at every practice. Vic (Campbell, UF Associate Coach) always tells me to put it on the top of the six and drive it in there,” Speese said. “Tahnai did a great job getting in there.”

 

Saturday’s performance was Annis’ eighth double-goal match of her career and third of the season.

 

Senior Lindsay Thompson completed Florida’s scoring with a header off the run of play in the 80th minute. The Gators were moving the ball quickly between players located at the middle of the field and the right sideline. When King had the ball in the middle, she saw Speese open at the top of the Eagles defensive third. Speese had space and time to move forward and then right. The ball she sent between two defenders found Annis just outside the corner of the box. Annis sent a ball to the far post, where Thompson headed it in for her fourth goal of the season.

 

For the match, Florida freshman Taylor Burke turned in one save and FGCU goalkeeper Stephanie Powers’ tallied three.

 

The Gators will face UCF next Friday at 7 p.m. at Pressly Stadium in NCAA Second Round action. The Knights were 2-0 winners over Florida International Friday evening in Orlando.

 

Friday’s match can be heard on WRUF SportsRadio 850, by simulcast on Cox Channel 946 (Gainesville/Ocala) or on www.GatorZone.com with Adam Schick and Matthew Stubbington calling the action.

 

Scoring Summary:

1st

2nd

Final

 

Florida Gulf Coast

0

0

0

 

Florida

1

2

3

 

 

Scoring:

UF: Tahnai Annis (Erika Tymrak) 15:53

UF: Annis (Annie Speese) 67:42

UF: Lindsay Thompson (Annis) 79:54

 

Goalkeepers:

 

 

Minutes

Saves

GA

FGCU

Stephanie Powers

90:00

3

3

Florida

Taylor Burke

90:00

1

0

 

 

 

 

 

Statistical Summary:

FGCU

UF

Shots

3

12

Shots on goal

1

6

Saves

3

1

Corner Kicks

0

7

Fouls

9

10

Offside

0

0

 

Cautions: Holly King/UF – yellow (58:40), Brittany Burt/FGCU – yellow (70:47)

 

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