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Sunday September 28, 2003Utah Defeats No. 5 Gator Soccer Team 1-0

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah --

The No. 5 University of Florida soccer team (8-1) saw its undefeated season come to an end Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 loss at Utah (8-1). The Utes are ranked No. 24 in the latest Soccer America poll.

Sunday’s match was a physical contest, with the Ute pressuring the Gators from the opening half. Utah scored the only goal of the match in the opening half at 21:52. Amber Brower put in the 10-yard shot to the far post to give the Utes the lead.

Florida had a couple of very good scoring opportunities in the opening half. In the sixth minute, Cherry Pickman took a shot that went through the hands of Utah goalkeeper Ashley Mason, but the Gators couldn’t pounce on the ball fast enough before Mason scrambled back to cover the ball. Late in the opening half, Ashley Kellgren brought the ball down the left side and sent in a cross into the box, but it was just a bit ahead of an on-coming Pickman.

A motivated Gator team took the field in the second half, but none of their scoring opportunities could find the goal. Among Florida’s eight second-half shots was an attempt by Crystal Frimpong, who couldn’t quite tuck the ball in at the post off Stephanie Freeman’s deep cross. Frimpong again nearly scored in the 83rd minute off a cross from Megan McMillan.

"I thought Utah played a great first half. They really took it to us physically and took us out of our rhythm a little bit. We let them impose their style of play on us in the first half and when we responded in the second half, it was just a little too late. In the second half, we had many more chances but we just couldn’t find the back of the net," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "I was glad to see our team come back and respond in the second half. We need to get used to this because we expect that when conference play begins, every match will be like this."

"Obviously, it wasn’t the result we wanted," Freeman said. "Utah came out hard. I think that we weren’t totally expecting that but we can take a good lesson from this game and hopefully not let it happen for the rest of the season."

Junior defender Monica Hoyles, who assisted on two of the Gators’ goals in Friday’s 3-2 overtime win at BYU, injured her right ankle during an Utah slide tackle in the fourth minute of the opening half. She did not return to play on Sunday. UF team physicians will evaluate Hoyles when the team returns to Gainesville.

The Gators open Southeastern Conference play on Friday, Oct. 3 when they play host to Alabama. Match time is set for 7:00 p.m. at Percy Beard Stadium and admission is free. Friday’s match is Gatorade Trading Card Day and Gator fans can pick up the third in a series of four trading cards featuring the UF seniors. Fans are also invited to stay for a post-match fireworks display, courtesy of GRU.

The match also will be broadcast over the Internet. Gator soccer fans can hear play-by-play action of the match beginning at 7:00 p.m. at www.GatorZone.com. The "player" software (Windows Media Player or Real Player) needed to hear the Internet broadcast is available for free at the same site.

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