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Thursday November 8, 2001UF Soccer Opens SEC Tournament with 4-0 Win vs. VU

BATON ROUGE, La. --

Four goals from four different players led the No. 10 University of Florida soccer team (15-3-1, 8-1 SEC) to a 4-0 victory over eighth-seeded Vanderbilt (7-10) in the opening round of the 2001 Southeastern Conference Tournament at the LSU Soccer Complex. The Gators now advance to the SEC Tournament semifinal on Friday, Nov. 9 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) vs. the winner of Thursday’s Kentucky/Tennessee match. The match can be heard live on the Internet at www.GatorZone.com.

Florida senior Abby Wambach, who was named the SEC Player of the Year at Wednesday’s tournament banquet, opened up the Gator scoring at 14:47. Junior Danielle Murphy chipped the ball over the Commodores’ defense and Wambach ran the ball down for a one-v-one situation with VU’s goalkeeper to score from eight yards. Freshman Christine Johnson scored the Gators’ second goal of the opening half at 38:23. The play started off when Andi Sellers took a shot in the box off a Dena Floyd corner kick. Johnson put the deflection in at the left post for her seventh goal of the season.

Vanderbilt’s starting goalkeeper Lauren Whitt received a red card and was ejected from the match at 54:10 when she collided with Wambach just outside of the box on a break away. Stacee Sproul replaced Whitt in goal and the Commodores were forced to play the remainder of the match a player down. VU had already come into Thursday’s match with an adjusted lineup as senior All-SEC first-team defender Lindaliz Arauz was out due to torn ligaments in her right ankle suffered in practice earlier this week.

"I think Florida was all over us in the first half and I think there were moments when I thought we were good, but their athleticism definitely took over. There is no way we can match up 10 persons vs. 11 against Florida when you are already down 2-0. It kind of takes away your offensive punch and we couldn’t sacrifice to take another player out of the back because of our lack of experience back there," VU Head Coach Ronnie Hill said. "It (the red-card) was definitely a back-breaker for our rhythm and any bit of our intensity. We basically just held on."

Shortly following the red card, senior Andi Sellers scored at 56:50. She took the through ball from Johnson and headed toward the goal on a breakaway. Sproul tried to make the stop, but Sellers leapt over the keeper and scored the empty net goal. The Gators’ final goal came from senior Jill Stevens at 87:22. She received the pass from Kelley Visentin and was able to win the one-v-one battle with the goalkeeper to score from 12 yards. It was the first goal of the season for Stevens.

"It was a good opening match for us. We came out an accomplished the goals that we wanted to which was to have a shutout, score some goals and be able to rest some people. It was what we were looking for in a first-round game," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "We expected that they would play a lot of people in the back and to score early is such a big help because it takes them out of that game. Once you score a goal, they have to open up a little bit and especially when you score two goals – it makes a big difference. That is something our team kind of focused on and I think our team showed a lot of maturity to get that done in the first part of the match."

The Gators outshot the Commodores 25-7 on Thursday. Florida’s starting goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren turned in three saves in 63 minutes of action and Regan Wiesemann posted one save in her 27 minutes of play. VU’s Whitt turned in two saves and Sproul had five saves on Thursday.

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