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Friday October 2, 1998Florida Defeats No. 20 Maryland 7-2

College Park, MD

Gator senior All-American Danielle Fotopoulos exploded for four goals Friday evening, leading the No. 5 University of Florida soccer team to a 7-2 win over No. 20 Maryland Friday evening in front of a season-high Ludwig Field crowd of 1,582. Florida continues to extend its best-ever season start to 9-0, while UM drops to 6-4.

The margin of victory was surprising for the Gators, as they expected a match similar to the 3-3 overtime tie UF-UM battled to last season at the Percy Beard Stadium.

"We finally played well tonight," said Head Coach Becky Burleigh, who was still shaking her head at the match’s margin of victory. "I think the new system that we played tonight had a lot to do with the win. We got a lot of good looks at the goal tonight and were able to finish our shots."

The beginning of the match was a shooting exhibition, as the first five shots of the match were goals. The string was broken at 23:50 when Maryland’s Jackie Mynarski hit the first shot that didn’t find the net. But by that time, Florida was up 4-1 on the Terrapins.

Fotopoulos got the scoring started early in the match, finding the net on the far post off the assist from Heather Mitts at 3:39. UM’s Emmy Harbo knotted the match less than six minutes later with a short shot directly in front of the net. Florida freshman Abby Wambach put the Gators up 2-1 at 11:35 with a short shot in front of the net, set up by the assist from Sarah Yohe. Fotopoulos’ hit a penalty kick at 14:04 to put UF 3-1. Wambach scored her second goal of the evening at 21:07, hitting a header off a left cross from Kerri Doran. Fotopoulos also hit a header for goal at 30:34 off the cross from Keisha Bell. Maryland’s Harbo hit her second goal of the evening at 40:03, but it was UF’s Melissa Pini who finished off the first half scoring furry with a header off another Bell cross.

The only scoring of the second half came at 54:42, when Fotopoulos hit her fourth and final goal with a left shot set up by Wambach’s pass. The hat trick plus one by Fotopoulos marked her fourth three goal or better performance of her UF career and first of the season. This is the second consecutive match that a Gator forward has scored a hat trick, as Wambach posted UF’s first last Sunday with her three goal performance in UF’s 3-0 win at Kentucky.

For the match, Florida outshot the Terrapins 14-7. Two Gator goalkeepers played in Friday’s match, with Meredith Flaherty starting and Lynn Pattishall replacing her at 63:06. UM keeper Ali Wolf posted four saves Friday.

Next up, the Gators finish their four-match road trek by traveling to Norfolk, Va., to meet Old Dominion on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m.

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