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Cherry Pickman celebrates her first collegiate goal with senior Danielle Murphy.

Friday October 18, 2002Florida Soccer Defeats No. 14 Tennessee 2-1 in OT

Gainesville, FL

Cherry Pickman celebrates her first collegiate goal with senior Danielle Murphy.

Two season-first goals by two different Gators gave the University of Florida soccer team (6-7-2, 3-2-1 SEC) a 2-1 overtime win over No. 14 Tennessee (10-5, 3-2 SEC) Friday evening in front of a Percy Beard Stadium crowd of 2,347. It was the second consecutive meeting between the two teams that went to overtime, as the Lady Vols claimed the 2001 meeting 2-1 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Sophomore Christine Johnson got the game winner for the Gators with 34 seconds remaining in the first overtime period. Candance Rivers sent the ball from the right to Monica Hoyles, who crossed the ball into the box. Her cross found Johnson open at the far post and Johnson hit the four-yard shot to end the match.

"We needed a goal. We needed this win," Johnson said. "It was our first win in overtime and it was a must for the SEC, so I just tried to do what I could to get a piece of my body on it. It just went in."

The Lady Vols tied the match at 50:00 when Kristin McGrath scored on a nine-yard shot from a Kim Patrick cross. UT could have moved ahead in the 70th minute off a corner kick, but UF’s Stephanie Freeman saved the ball off the line. Just a minute later, UF had a great look at the goal when Robin Fulton crossed the ball into the box, but Johnson’s shot sailed just wide.

Both teams had excellent scoring opportunities in the opening half, but only the Gators were able to get one in the goal. Freshman Cherry Pickman headed in her first collegiate goal from just a step inside the far corner of the six-yard box at 24:45. Danielle Murphy, who served up the corner kick that Pickman scored off of, was credited with the assist. Pickman, who has seen most of her minutes this season on the backline, was moved up to the frontline during the first weekend of league play. Her goal came on only her third collegiate shot.

"It was very exciting (getting her first goal)," Pickman said. "I started as a back earlier this season, so to go up top and be able to score a goal is like a dream. It is a lot of fun."

Friday’s match was UF’s first win in five overtime matches this season. Florida will meet another SEC opponent, Georgia (a 2-1 double overtime winner over South Carolina Friday) on Sunday.

"This obviously helps us a lot in terms of the SEC picture, but we have a lot of work to do still. Now we focus on Georgia," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "I am sure the players thought about it (the loss last year at UT) more than I did because of the whole redemption factor, so that was a big deal for them. I could tell tonight that they were pretty focused coming into the game."

"It wasn’t what Tennessee was doing to us, but what we were doing to ourselves," Burleigh continued. "We just gave the ball away too much and particularly in the midfield. We weren’t moving off the ball and supporting one another and once we got a hold of that again in the overtime, I thought we really controlled the ball much better. It was just a case of us letting it get away from us (in the second half) a little bit."

For the match, UT outshot the Gators 17-9. Florida goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren turned in six saves and UT’s Ellen Dean posted two saves.

Next up, the Gators finish the 2002 home slate with Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 20. Match time is set for 3:00 p.m. at the Percy Beard Stadium and admission is free. Sunday’s match is also Senior Day and UF’s three seniors – Jordan Kellgren, Danielle Murphy and Kara Rao – will be honored in a pre-match ceremony.

The UF-UGA match will air live on Sunshine. Live statistics and audio for Sunday’s match will also be available at www.GatorZone.com.

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