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Freshman Liz Slattery (center) celebrates her first Gator goal. Florida opened SEC play with a 3-0 win over Alabama.

Friday September 20, 2013No. 8 Florida soccer opens SEC play with 3-0 win over Alabama

Gainesville, Fla.

Freshman Liz Slattery (center) celebrates her first Gator goal. Florida opened SEC play with a 3-0 win over Alabama.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Three goals – all by Gator freshmen – gave the No. 8 Florida soccer team a 3-0 win over Alabama Friday evening in front of 1,719 fans at the James G. Pressly Stadium. It was the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

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It was Gator Soccer Alumni Night and many members of the program’s past 18 seasons were on hand to cheer Florida to a win in its Southeastern Conference opener. Since the program’s first season in 1995, the Gators have won 12 SEC titles, advanced to 16 NCAA Tournaments and won the 1998 NCAA Championship.

 

A set play gave the Gators their first goal in the 26th minute. Junior Havana Solaun sent the corner kick to the middle of the box where it was headed down by sophomore Lindsey Cooper. The ball hit the ground just in front of the goal line and freshman Savannah Jordan used her right foot to put it across the line. Jordan scored her second goal of the evening with less than three minutes left before halftime. Sophomore Brooke Smith sent a centering pass to freshman Meggie Dougherty Howard just above the box. Jordan received the ball from Dougherty Howard, turned and used her right foot to take the shot which banged off the far post and into the goal.

 

Jordan now has 10 goals, making her one of three in NCAA Division I play to turn in a double-digit season goals total.

 

Florida’s final goal started near the end line when senior Maggie Rodgers shielded off her defender, allowing her to send a vertical pass to junior Tessa Andujar outside the top edge of the box. Her cross into box was headed in at the near post by freshman Liz Slattery for her first goal as a Gator.

 

GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:

·         With 10 goals in nine matches, Jordan leads all Gator freshman scorers in the program’s 19-year history. She is one ahead of the nine goals through nine matches turned in by Abby Wambach in her freshman year in 1998.

·         Jordan turned in her fourth multi-goal match of the season. She also scored a pair of goals versus Florida Gulf Coast and Minnesota plus turned a hat-trick versus Oregon State.

·         Tonight was the Gators’ fifth shutout of the season. Taylor Burke now has four solo shutouts for the season, bringing her career total to 18. That is one away from third on the Gators’ Career Solo Shutouts list.

 

Friday’s SEC Scores

Georgia 2, No. 17 South Carolina 0

Tennessee 1, No. 20 Texas A&M 0

Mississippi 2, Arkansas 1

Kentucky 1, Auburn 0

Missouri 3, Mississippi 1

 RECORDS: Florida (7-1-1, 1-0 SEC); Alabama (2-6, 0-1 SEC).

 

THE SERIES: Florida leads the series 17-1-2 all-time.

 

QUOTES
On the match:

Alabama is a hard team to play because we didn’t know what to expect but I think once we settled in, we felt like we had good control of the game and did a good job of getting the shutout and scoring three goals.” – Florida coach Becky Burleigh

 

On her first Southeastern Conference win with Florida:

“It was great. I think it was a great way to open up the SEC. I know our team is really happy. I can’t thank my teammates enough for the assists. Both of them were great assists from both my teammates, and I think it was a great way to open up the SEC. I’m excited for the rest.” – freshman forward Savannah Jordan

 

On her positioning:

“I definitely work on that a lot. I know that is one of the biggest factors, is starting points and positioning. You don’t have to be the fastest or outwork someone, but if you’re in the right position you can get lucky and get goals, and I think my positioning helped me a lot tonight.” - freshman forward Savannah Jordan

 

On how unpredictable Alabama is:

“They were a great team defensively. In the first 15 minutes we struggled a little bit, just getting used to how we played, and then once we got a rhythm, we were hitting it after that.” - freshman forward Savannah Jordan

 

On her first goal as a Gator:

“It’s awesome. I’ve been working really hard to get playing time. I’m really excited that I actually got to go in and then score a goal on top of it. So that was really cool.” – freshman midfielder Liz Slattery

 

Can you take us through the play?

“The ball got sent out wide to Tessa [Andujar]. She took a touch and beat her player and serves it across and then, normally I don’t really get forward because I’m in the two. I just saw an opening and I just went for it. She served the most beautiful ball, dropped it right at the penalty spot and I just went up for it and then it went in back to the post that it came from. It was all Tessa. It was a great service.” – freshman midfielder Liz Slattery

 

How does it feel to be a part of a strong freshman class?

“It’s so exciting because you think about the next four years and I just cannot wait. Everyone in our class has so many different talents and so many of us have yet to even reveal those. I can’t wait for the next four years - it’s going to be awesome. And also with the next three years with the upperclassmen here. Everyone on the team has been so awesome. I love all the girls. I can’t wait.” – freshman midfielder Liz Slattery

 

On the play of the freshmen:

“I think for the freshmen, they are going to keep getting better and better the more they play. Liz’s goal was a great goal. She put it across the keeper. Textbook – it was perfect.” – Florida coach Becky Burleigh

 

WORTH NOTING
Rodgers’ registered her third assist of the season, which ties for third among the 2013 Gators…Dougherty Howard earned her first assist as a Gator…Brooke Smith and Andujar also posted their first assists of the season…the start time for tonight’s match was pushed back an hour as the Tide’s arrival into Gainesville was delayed due to their bus breaking down…all-time, Florida is 15-3-1 in SEC openers, including 9-0-1 in SEC home openers.

UP NEXT:

The Gators are on the road at Oxford, Miss., to face Mississippi (7-1-1, 1-0 SEC) on Friday, Sept. 27. Match time is set for 8 p.m. ET at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium. The Rebels opened SEC played with a 2-1 win at Arkansas Friday evening.

 

Audio and stats are available on GatorZone.com and streaming video can be seen on Rebel Vision.

 

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Scoring Summary:

1st

2nd

Final

 

 

 

Alabama

0

0

0

 

 

 

Florida

2

1

3

 

 

 

 

Scoring:

Savannah Jordan (Lindsey Cooper, Havana Solaun) 26:14

Jordan (Meggie Dougherty Howard, Brooke Smith) 42:32

Liz Slattery (Tessa Andujar, Maggie Rodgers) 85:27

 

Goalkeepers:

 

Minutes

Saves

GA

Alabama

Emily Rusk

90:00

5

3

Florida

Taylor Burke

90:00

3

0

 

 

 

 

 

Statistical Summary:

UA

UF

 

Shots

5

17

 

Shots on goal

3

8

 

Saves

5

3

 

Fouls

11

10

 

Corner Kicks

2

8

 

Offside

4

2

 

 

Cautions:  none

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