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Sunday October 27, 2002Florida Soccer Drops SEC Finale to Auburn 1-0

AUBURN, Ala. --

The University of Florida soccer team (8-8-2, 5-3-1 SEC) dropped its final match of the Southeastern Conference regular season 1-0 at Auburn (14-3-1, 6-1-1 SEC) Sunday in front of a rain-soaked crowd of 342 at the Auburn Soccer Field. The loss ended the Gatorsí hopes of claiming its seventh consecutive league title.

Auburnís win assures that the Tigers will claim at least a share of the 2002 SEC regular season title. Auburn will meet Alabama next Friday in Auburn, Ala. The league began awarding SEC regular season crowns in the 2000 season and Florida claimed the 2000 and í01 titles. The Gators have won the SEC Tournament title from 1996-01.

Auburn scored the only goal of the match at 17:34. The play started when Florida thought the ball was going to roll out on the sideline, but Sarah Steinmann was able to keep the ball in bounds. The Tigers had a numbers advantage and Steinmann was able to capitalize on the moment, serving the ball into the box. Christina Culver was able to one-touch the ball into the goal from 10 yards.

The Gators had trouble getting the ball past the Tigersí backline in the opening 45 minutes. Robin Fulton took the Gatorsí only shot of the opening half. She gained possession of the ball at the midway line and then drove down the middle of the field, curling right in the box. Her shot missed wide of the far post from 10 yards.

Florida came back from halftime with a new level of intensity, but couldnít get one across the goal. For the match, Auburn outshot Florida 6-4. Both goalkeepers - Floridaís Jordan Kellgren and Auburnís Megan Rivera Ė turned in two saves each Sunday.

"It was really disappointing because it was right there in our hands. It took us a half to wake up Ė it took us a half to play. I was so disappointed in the way we came out in the first half, especially with what was on the line. And in the second half, we play hard and Auburn hardly crosses midfield," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "But it took us a half to get going. When you are playing for a SEC Championship, why does it take you a half to get going?

"You have to give credit to Auburn. They withstood a lot of pressure in the second half. We created a lot of opportunities, but just couldnít finish them. There was a lot of pressure on their goal in the second half Ė too bad we didnít have that same intensity in the first half," she continued. "We are not good enough to not have effort in every game that we play. I think Auburn did a good job defensively. They dropped back and minimized the space in behind them that we could get in. But for the most part, I think we did it to ourselves. We had the opportunity in the first half to get things done, but we didnít."

Florida junior Robin Fulton expressed the teamís disappointment in not winning the SEC regular season title.

"It is very disappointing because just as quick as it was in our hands was as quick as it left our hands," Fulton said. "We were the only ones that could control it (a share of the SEC regular season title) being in our hands and that required us winning it. The Auburn defense was tough, but we didnít take it to them at the beginning due to a lack of intensity and lack of effort on our part. We should have come in here ready to go Ė we knew how important this game was. We picked it up in the second half, but we needed to have that intensity at the beginning of the game."

Next up, the Gators travel to Clemson, S.C., for the regular-season finale vs. No. 20 Clemson on Saturday, Nov. 2. Match time is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at Riggs Field. Live audio for Saturdayís match will also be available at www.GatorZone.com.

Current SEC Standings (as of 10/27)

EASTERN

SEC

PCT

ALL

PCT

Tennessee

5-2-1

.688

12-5-1

.694

Florida#

5-3-1

.611

8-8-2

.500

South Carolina#

4-3-2

.556

11-5-2

.667

Georgia

4-4

.500

8-9-1

.472

Kentucky

4-4

.500

9-7-0

.563

Vanderbilt#

2-5-2

.333

4-9-2

.333

         

WESTERN

SEC

PCT

ALL

PCT

Auburn

6-1-1

.813

14-3-1

.806

Mississippi

4-3-1

.563

12-3-2

.765

LSU

2-3-2

.429

10-4-2

.688

Arkansas

3-5

.375

7-12-0

.368

Alabama

2-5-1

.313

11-6-1

.719

Mississippi State

2-5-1

.313

5-12-1

.306

         

# - completed SEC regular season play

 

 

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