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Sunday November 8, 1998Florida Claims Third Consecutive SEC Title

Tuscaloosa, AL

The No. 4 University of Florida women's soccer team (21-1) claimed its third consecutive Southeastern Conference Tournament title Sunday in front of an Alabama Varsity Soccer Field crowd of 258 with a 2-0 win over No. 10 Vanderbilt (16-5). Florida is the first team in league history to claim three consecutive SEC Tournament titles. The Gators, who also posted tournament wins over South Carolina (6-0) and Kentucky (2-0), are the first to shut-out each tournament opponent since Vanderbilt claimed the 1994 SEC Tournament title when the league only fielded five women's soccer teams.

The two teams played to a scoreless tie in the opening half, but a halftime speech by the UF coaching staff fired the Gators up for the final half. Gator freshman Abby Wambach got the Gators on the board at 53:21, heading the ball in off a cross from senior Kerri Doran. Florida's final score was an instant replay of UF's first goal, as Doran again crossed the ball to Wambach from the right sideline, who headed it in for the score in the 64th minute.

Florida placed four players on the SEC All-Tournament team. Joining Wambach on the All-SEC team was freshman defender Keisha Bell and senior forward Danielle Fotopoulos. Senior midfielder Erin Baxter, who left the game for a short period in the opening half due to an ankle sprain, was named the SEC Tournament MVP. It was the fourth SEC All-Tournament selection for Baxter during her outstanding Gator career.

Next up, the Gators await the NCAA Tournament announcement tonight at 9:30 p.m. (ET). The NCAA Office via satellite will announce the 48-team bracket. Play for the 1998 NCAA Tournament begins Wednesday, Nov. 11. Florida expects to receive a bye for the NCAA First Round. The second round of the NCAA will be played the weekend of Nov. 14-15.

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