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Kara Rao hit her first goal of the season in UF's 2-0 win Friday vs. Syracuse.

Friday September 13, 2002No. 14 Florida Soccer Defeats Syracuse 2-0

Gainesville, FL

Kara Rao hit her first goal of the season in UF's 2-0 win Friday vs. Syracuse.

The 14th ranked Florida Gator soccer team (3-2) defeated the Syracuse Orangewomen (2-2-1) with two first half goals by Kara Rao and Monica Hoyles in front of a crowd of 1,492 at Percy Beard Stadium Friday night in the opening day of the Gator Invitational.

The first goal came in the 17th minute of the match. The play started with a long kick up from Gator goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren. A Syracuse player headed down the ball, but Rao took control. She charged the box and flicked the ball left to Christine Johnson. Johnson passed it back to Rao, who was by the SU goalkeeper and softly tapped the ball by her into the back of the net. This is Rao’s first goal and Johnson’s second assist of the season.

Sophomore Monica Hoyles got her first goal of the 2002 season in the 43rd minute of the match. The play began when Florida forward Crystal Frimpong got the ball on the flank and worked it all the way up to the left side of the goal. She then crossed it over to Hoyles, who was streaking over from the right side and tucked the ball into the back of the net from five yards out. The Gators had six shots at the half to Syracuse’s two.

Gator fans saw plenty of exciting plays Friday evening. Junior forward Robin Fulton almost created her own goal in the 12th minute, charging up the right flank with plenty of space to work with but SU goalkeeper Shannon Myers dove on it at the last second to prevent the goal. Late in the second half, Hoyles almost added an assist to her evening’s statistics, using a move to get free of her defender. She drove the ball up the sideline and passed it over to freshman Jamie Garside, whose shot went right at Myers.

For the match, Florida outshot SU 12-6. Kellgren, who now has 17 career solo shutouts, turned in three saves. Myers posted six saves Friday evening.

"I thought we did a really good job (possessing) the ball in the first half. It kind of broke down in the second half – probably part of the credit for that goes to Syracuse. I think they stepped it up some in the second half and took us a bit out of our game. It was a good first half, but we really want to put together two good halves," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "That will be our goal for Sunday."

In other action Friday at the Gator Invitational, Duke defeated Central Florida 3-0.

Next up, Florida continues Gator Invitational play on Sunday, Sept. 15. Florida meets Duke, ranked No. 15 by Soccer America, at 2:00 p.m. at the Percy Beard Stadium and admission is free. UCF meets Syracuse at 11:00 a.m. Sunday at Percy Beard Stadium.

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