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The Gator soccer team celebrates their 1-0 win at UCLA to send UF to the NCAA College Cup.

Sunday December 2, 2001UF Soccer Defeats UCLA 1-0 OT - UF onto NCAA Semis

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

The Gator soccer team celebrates their 1-0 win at UCLA to send UF to the NCAA College Cup.

A goal by freshman Monica Hoyles in the final minute of the second overtime period gave the No. 6 seeded University of Florida soccer team (21-3-1, 8-1 SEC) a 1-0 win over No. 3 seeded UCLA (20-3, 8-1 Pac 10), sending the Gators to their second NCAA semifinal appearance. The Gators now meet No. 2 seeded Santa Clara (21-2) on Dec. 7 in Dallas, Texas, in the NCAA College Cup. The other two teams in the NCAA College Cup are North Carolina (23-0) and Portland (20-3), making the final four teams the same lineup as when Florida claimed the NCAA title in 1998.

The Gators’ victory ended the Bruins’ home-unbeaten streak at 26 consecutive wins. UCLA last lost on its home field Nov. 14, 1998 to BYU in the NCAA Second Round. The Bruins were looking for their second consecutive trip to the NCAA College Cup, as UCLA was defeated 2-1 by North Carolina in the 2000 national championship match.

"We’re so excited to go back to the Final Four," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "I feel for the UCLA team. It’s a tough way to lose on a goal like that. Our team kept hanging in there and never gave up. When you hang in for that long, good things happen, especially when you work that hard."

Regulation play ended scoreless, but with the Bruins holding a 20-4 advantage in shots. The match then went to sudden-victory – the first time the Gators played an overtime match in their six-year history of NCAA play, which spans 16 matches. Florida had an excellent opportunity to score early in the first overtime period when Robin Fulton crossed a ball in front of the goal. Abby Wambach took the 12-yard shot in middle of the goal, but UCLA’s goalkeeper CiCi Peterson made the save.

"I really thought we were going to score there. When we didn’t score on that play, that’s when I got nervous," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said.

The match moved to the second overtime period. As the clock winded down for the end of the second OT, Danielle Murphy sent the ball to Hoyles from the right wing. Hoyles dribbled the ball into the upper corner of the box. She took the left-footed shot from 17-yards and the ball appeared to deflect off an UCLA defender en route to the goal, causing it to take a spin to the near post, where it was out of reach for Peterson. The goal was just the second for Hoyles this season and the win was the first overtime victory for the Gators this season.

"I was going to cross the ball, but there were too many defenders there," Hoyles said. "I figured I might as well take a shot."

The Gators played the match without senior All-American defender Keisha Bell, who suffered a left knee sprain in the team’s first practice after arriving in Los Angeles on Friday. She will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Gainesville. Bell, who was the Gators’ career leader in minutes prior to Sunday’s match, had missed just 31 minutes of action this season before the injury. Sophomore Dena Floyd replaced Bell in the Gators’ starting lineup Sunday for her first start of the season.

Florida goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren set the Gator record for saves Sunday with 16 for the match. She held the previous record of 11 saves set Sept. 19, 2000 vs. BYU. UCLA’s Peterson turned in four saves. For the match, UCLA outshot the Gator 28-8.

"Going into the game, I told myself that we can’t lose if they can’t score. So I told myself I couldn’t let them score. It was an all-around good effort from our defense," Kellgren said.

"What made her (Kellgren) dominant was taking the opportunities out before they happened – taking the crosses away and taking the breakaways away," Burleigh said. "Jordan and the defense played well today."

Florida now will return to Gainesville prior to heading to Dallas for the College Cup, held at the Gerald J. Ford Stadium. The semifinal matches will be played on Friday, Dec. 7 and the winners advance to the final on Sunday, Dec. 9.

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