Sunday October 28, 2001Soccer Claims Share of SEC Regular-Season Title
Andi Sellers scored her fifth career hat-trick on this header in the 23rd minute.
The No. 15 University of Florida soccer team (13-3-1, 8-1 SEC) used a 6-0 win over Mississippi (9-8-1, 4-4 SEC) Sunday afternoon to claim at least a share of the 2001 Southeastern Conference regular-season crown – marking the sixth consecutive season Florida has won the league’s soccer title. Florida finishes its SEC regular-season schedule with an 8-1 record and currently shares the lead in the league standings with Tennessee at one loss each. UT owns a league record of 7-1 and plays its final SEC match on Nov. 2 at Georgia.
"Well, it’s a big thing (winning the SEC title) and we are pretty excited about it," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "We knew that this year was going to be as difficult a year as it has been for us. Even though there are still some SEC games to play, to be able to clinch at least our part of it is pretty exciting."
For the second consecutive match, a Florida player turned in three goals. This time, senior Andi Sellers earned the hat-trick – the fifth of her collegiate career and her first of the season. Sellers started the Gator scoring at 8:24. Danielle Murphy sent the ball into the box, where Sellers settled it and then tucked it inside the left post from three yards. Her second goal started when Crystal Frimpong served the ball from the right side into the box. Sellers took the ball right, then twirled left to bang the ball off the left post into the goal at 18:30. The final goal of the hat-trick came at 22:41. Abby Wambach headed a Casey Hamel corner kick to the middle of the goal, where Seller put it across the line off a header. The three goals move Sellers out of a tie for second on the Gators’ career scoring list into second place. She now owns a career total of 69 goals.
"This is my fifth year here and we’ve had five SEC titles – that’s just unbelievable," Sellers said. "You couldn’t ask for more. We don’t take any of them for granted because there are so many people that want to have what we have. Each one is just as sweet and I’m really excited that we were able to do it again this year.
"Both games this weekend, we were creating a lot of opportunities and today a lot of opportunities came my way," she continued. "That’s cool (moving into second on the career goals chart). I think I like the SEC Championship better, but I’ll take that too – that’s nice."
Wambach turned in two goals Sunday to increase her season total to 20 goals. She headed in a Hamel free kick from 10 yards at 10:30 for her first goal. She turned in the Gators’ only goal of the second half at 51:05, stretching her right leg in the air to redirect the ball served from Frimpong into the goal from 10 yards.
Florida’s fourth goal started when freshman Katie Johnston brought the ball down the left side to serve it into the box. Wambach back-heeled the service to freshman Christine Johnson, who hit the eight-yard shot to the middle of the goal.
For the match, Florida outshot the Rebels 20-3. UF’s starting goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren played the opening 45 minutes and Regan Wiesemann played the final 45 minutes in goal for the Gators, turning in one save. UM’s starting goalkeeper Melinda Smith turned in one save in the first half and Brittany Gillespie posted five saves in second 45 minutes. The shutout was eighth for the Gators this season and fifth in league play.
Next up, the Gators play host to No. 12 Clemson on Saturday, Nov. 3. Match time is set for 6:00 p.m. at the Percy Beard Stadium and admission is free.