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Christine Johnson's goal in the 98th minute gave the Gators a 3-2 OT win at BYU.

Friday September 26, 2003No. 5 Florida Soccer Defeats BYU 3-2 in OT

PROVO, Utah -

Christine Johnson's goal in the 98th minute gave the Gators a 3-2 OT win at BYU.

The No. 5 University of Florida soccer team defeated BYU 3-2 in the first overtime period Friday evening in front of a crowd of 2,412 – the second largest crowd ever at South Field. The win keeps the Gators’ season record perfect at 8-0, while BYU drops to 6-3-1. The match marked a couple of firsts for the Gators, as it was the first road contest and first overtime match this season for Florida.

Junior Christine Johnson gave the Gators the winning goal at 97:40 after taking the serve from junior Monica Hoyles and placing the ball in at the far post in the midst of a scrum of players.

"Monica served the ball in and it just dropped at my feet. I shot it and I thought it went wide, but it went in the goal," Johnson said. "I was looking to see if it was going to go in and all of a sudden my team started tackling me so I just figured it went in.

"We were tired -- it was a long game," she continued. "BYU is a good team and we needed that win."

The conclusion was fitting for a match that was thrilling from beginning to end. The Cougars scored early in the opening half when Jamie Rendich’s deep cross found the head of Terra Bigelow, who tucked the ball inside the far post at 14:59 to ignite the BYU crowd.

The Gators responded with two goals in the opening half. Junior Stephanie Freeman knotted the match at 1-all at 24:13 with her 20-yard free kick from just above the box. Crystal Frimpong’s short sliding goal off Hoyle’s serve into the box at 34:26 gave the Gators a 2-1 halftime lead.

BYU knotted the score at 55:58 when Nicole Jensen hit a 18-yard blast to the upper corner of the far post off an Alecia Rose corner kick.

Both teams had some late regulation chances to get the go-ahead goal. In the 82nd minute, senior Dena Floyd took an 18-yard blast that hit the cross bar and bounced back into play. Floyd had another excellent chance in the 84th minute with that shot whistling just over the cross bar. In the 85th minute, BYU’s Krissa Campbell had an excellent opportunity in the box, but Florida cleared it to the far sideline just before she could take the shot.

"We expected it to be a really tight match and that is exactly what happened. It was a big, big win for us," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "Being on the road in front of a large, boisterous crowd - it was a really big win for us. BYU is a very good team that should do well this season. We haven’t proven ourselves on the road yet and to be in a hostile environment like this, having to come from behind – there are just a lot of good things about this game that showed a lot of character for our team.

"I thought Monica (Hoyles) was a big factor in the second half," she continued. "Mel (Booth) showed a lot of courage tonight playing although she wasn’t feeling the best after getting hit in the face in the opening half. I thought Stephanie Freeman’s work ethic was just unbelievable – she was all over the place tonight."

Florida continues its road trip Sunday at Utah. The Utes are ranked No. 24 by Soccer America. Match time is set for 3:00 p.m. (ET) at the Ute Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 28. The match will be webcast on www.gatorzone.com on Sunday starting at 9:00 p.m. (ET).

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