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Danielle Murphy and Ashley Kellgren turned in goals in Friday's SEC Tournament semifinal win vs. LSU

Friday November 8, 2002UF Soccer Defeats LSU 2-0 in SEC Tournament Semi

OXFORD, Miss. --

Danielle Murphy and Ashley Kellgren turned in goals in Friday's SEC Tournament semifinal win vs. LSU

The University of Florida soccer team (10-9-2, 5-3-1 SEC) advances to Sunday’s Southeastern Conference Tournament final after defeating Louisiana State University (12-5-3, 2-3-3 SEC) 2-0 in Friday’s semifinal round in front of a Mississippi Soccer Stadium crowd of 240. The Gators will meet No. 13 Tennessee, which was a 1-0 overtime winner over Kentucky in Friday’s second semifinal match.

It will be the Gators’ seventh consecutive appearance in the league’s tournament final. The Gators have won the last six tournament crowns, defeating Auburn 2-1 in the 2001 SEC title match. The winner of Sunday’s match receives the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. The 64-team field for the 2002 NCAA Tournament will be announced Monday, Nov. 11 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNEWS.

In Friday’s match, Florida took the lead at 10:58 with a goal from senior Danielle Murphy. Freshman Candace Rivers took a corner kick and a LSU player headed the ball to the top of the box. Murphy settled the ball, took a quick step to the left and hit the left-footed shot for her third goal of the season.

"The ball came out and I moved to the left," Murphy said. "I took a big swing at it and it just went in."

The Gators’ second goal came off the scrum following a free kick. Freshman Cherry Pickman and senior Kara Rao each got a foot on the ball, which popped from the endline to in front of the goal. Sophomore Ashley Kellgren took advantage of the opportunity and sent her seven-yard shot into the goal untouched at 52:56. It was Kellgren’s first collegiate goal.

"I saw Murph (Danielle Murphy) went up to take it (the free kick) and Crystal (Frimpong) dropped back so I pushed forward," Kellgren said. "The ball just popped across – I was in the right place at the right time."

The Tigers’ best chance of the opening 45 minutes came in the 20th minute. Tiger sophomore Artie Brown was able to penetrate the Gator backline, but her shot hit the near post. LSU also had some excellent opportunities in the second half. Junior Stephanie Keating, who hit the tying goal in the two team’s first meeting of the season on Oct. 11, had a 1v1 situation with UF goalkeeper Jordan Kellgren in the second minute of the half. Her shot hit the cross bar and kicked over the goal. The Tigers also had two shots hit the posts in the 55th minute. Keating also had another opportunity in the 80th minute, but Kellgren was able to get a hand on Keating’s 14-yard shot and deflect it over the goal.

"We were very happy to get the win because again like last night’s game, it was a game we thought of as a chance for redemption (LSU tied UF 1-1 in Gainesville on Oct. 11). Our season was on the line tonight and we had to come away with a win," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "LSU had a lot of great chances – they hit the crossbar and the post a few times. We did also – it was kind of a game of opportunities and we finished our two opportunities and they weren’t able to finish their chances. Some of that I credit to our defense and some of the credit goes to the goalposts.

"I thought LSU played us tougher tonight than they did last month," she continued. "They played with a lot of heart and never gave up. Even after we went up 2-0 they played hard – in fact that is when they got some of the their best chances."

"I thought our team did a good job of possessing the ball, particularly in the first half. It was probably one of the best jobs we did in possession in the last few games. They had opportunities and I think we were fortunate not to have a goal scored on us, but I don’t think we were fortunate to win the game," Burleigh said. "I think we earned it."

Florida was without the services of sophomore forward Christine Johnson, who was out due to a concussion suffered in a collision with South Carolina’s goalkeeper in Thursday’s opening round. The Gator sidelines were also missing UF Assistant Coach Vic Campbell. He returned to Gainesville because his wife, Kerri, delivered their first child, Ty Landon, at 3:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 8. Both mother and baby are reported to be doing well.

Florida, the six-time defending SEC Tournament champion, meets Tennessee (14-5-1) in the SEC Tournament final at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Nov. 10. UF defeated Tennessee 2-1 in overtime in the two team’s regular-season meeting on Oct. 18 in Gainesville. The match can be heard live on the Internet at www.GatorZone.com or viewed live in the Gainesville area on Cox Cable channel 15.

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