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Sunday September 15, 2002Duke Defeats No. 14 Florida Soccer 2-1 OT

Gainesville, FL

The Duke Blue Devils defeated No. 14 Florida 2-1 in overtime Sunday afternoon in front of a Percy Beard Stadium crowd of 1,105. Duke, ranked No. 15 by Soccer America, raised its record to 4-2 while the Gators drop to 3-3.

Duke scored late in the first half when Casey McCluskey converted a penalty kick at 42:13. The Blue Devils were awarded the penalty kick after UF goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren was accessed a foul during a Blue Devil attack in the box.

The Gators had a chance to tie the match in 56th minute when Duke’s Rebecca Smith was called for a handball in the box off a Robin Fulton cross. Junior Dena Floyd took the penalty kick for the Gators, but DU goalkeeper Katie Straka correctly anticipated the shot and the ball rebounded off her hands back into the field of play.

Play was suspended in the 60th minute due to lightening. After a 26-minute delay, play resumed under a light rain. Duke had a chance to score again on a penalty kick when UF’s Danielle Rust was called for foul on DU’s Carolyn Riggs in the 77th minute. Heidi Hollenbeck took the penalty kick, but Kellgren covered the ball to end the play.

Freshman Candace Rivers’ first collegiate goal at 87:35 tied the match at 1-1. Rivers hit the 10-yard blast off the pass from sophomore Monica Hoyles following the fray of a Gator corner kick.

The Gators thought the match was over after just 50 seconds of overtime when Megan McMillan’s shot hit the lower edge of the crossbar. The referee and the assistant referee discussed the play and agreed that the ball did not cross the plane of the goal. McCluskey got the winning goal for Duke at 92:14 after a breakaway on the left side of the field. She hit the eight-yard shot to the far post to give the Blue Devils their second win in three overtime matches this season.

"I was proud of the way we came back. It was a disappointing way to lose. Duke really dropped in and played a passive defense in the second half and tried to hold on and I was proud of the way that we came back to tie it up," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "Of course, the way it finished was a hard way to lose. We knew McCluskey was their best player. She scored the winning goal and it was a good finish by her. Unfortunately, it came off an unforced error by us.

"I think we were a step off today with the timing of our passes and our touch today. We weren’t as crisp as we had been," she continued. "You have to fight through those games – you are not always going to get exactly what you want to have and that is why I was really proud of our comeback.

"It is disappointing to be 3-3 because I think we are better than a .500 team. Today was a good test for us because since we started winning, this was the first time we had a goal scored against us and had to come back. We did that, but now we just have to find a way to finish it off," Burleigh said.

Next up, Florida travels to Palo Alto, Calif., to compete in the Nike Stanford Invitational. UF begins competition on Friday, Sept. 20 with current No. 3 and defending NCAA champion Santa Clara. Sunshine Network will carry that match live at 8:00 p.m. ET. The two teams last met in the 2001 NCAA College Cup semifinal round, with SCU taking a 3-2 overtime win.

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