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Sunday October 25, 1998Florida Defeats South Carolina 4-2

Columbia, SC

The No. 4 University of Florida women’s soccer team came from behind to defeat South Carolina 4-2 Sunday afternoon in front of a Eugene E. Stone III Stadium crowd of 879. With the win, the Gators claimed their second Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title in three years with a perfect 8-0 league record and upped their overall record to 16-1. South Carolina falls to 10-5-1 and 4-4 in the SEC.

In the opening half, the Gamecocks scored first at 11:11 when Angie Austin’s shot back spun off the cross bar and then she put it away. Florida’s Melissa Pini tied the score at 23:39 with a short left shot off the assist from Erin Baxter. Austin put USC up 2-1 at halftime when she scored on the first penalty kick against UF this season.

"We knew coming into this match that South Carolina was one of the top teams in the SEC despite their record," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "We tried to prepare the players for that, but we’re not so sure they took us seriously until we were down 2-1. We put ourselves in that hole and fortunately we are a good enough team to get ourselves out of that hole. Hopefully a good lesson was learned.

"The first half, USC beat us to every ball, they wanted every ball more than we did and they played harder than we did," she continued. "In the second half, we just had to match their intensity, which I think we did."

Florida senior Erin Baxter tied the game at 60:23 when she put a rebound off the cross bar across the line. Senior Danielle Fotopoulos gave the Gators the go-ahead goal at 72:58, hitting the header off Karyn Hall’s corner kick. Fotopoulos scored again at 77:08 to give the Gators their final goal.

Next up, the Gators return home to play host to their final two regular season home matches. Florida will meet Duke on Friday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. and then closes out home play on Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. against No. 7 Penn State.

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