Sunday November 1, 1998Florida Soccer Team Defeats No. 11 Penn State
Florida (18-1) fell behind in the first half 1-0 on a goal from Penn State's Shari Pickett, despite getting numerous chances and outshooting the Nittany Lions 20-3. It was the first time the Gators have trailed at halftime at home this season.
"We just said we do not want this game to be a story of missed opportunities," Florida coach Becky Burleigh said she told the team at halftime. "Our team needs to be focused, needs to be challenged and we were. Penn State is very good team."
Florida came out in the second half and finally was able to capitalize on their scoring chances. Danielle Fotopoulos evened the match at 53:35 when she dribbled through the Penn State defense and blasted a shot in from 17 yards out.
Fotopoulos added another goal by heading a cross from Erin Baxter into the net.
"Erin Baxter played a huge game," Burleigh said. "She was the key for us. She won every ball in the air."
Abby Wambach put the game out of reach with less than eight minutes to play. She was lying on the ground after a shot attempt was deflected by Penn State goalkeeper Emily Oleksiuk and placed a deflected Fotopoulos shot into the net.
Florida goalkeeper Meredith Flaherty had one key save in the second half to preserve the victory. Oleksuik recorded 11 saves for the Nittany Lions (16-3-1).
The match was the last in the regular season for Florida. The win gave Florida its best-ever regular season record.
The Gators enter next weekend's Southeastern Conference Tournament as two-time defending tournament champions and the Eastern Divisions No. 1 seed. Florida plays Nov. 5 against South Carolina at 1 p.m. (ET) in Tuscaloosa, Ala.