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Thursday November 4, 1999Soccer Team Advances with 4-3 Win Over Arkansas


The No. 2 University of Florida soccer team was forced to come from behind twice, but finally posted a 4-3 win over Arkansas in Thursday's opening round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament held in front of a crowd of 827 at the Vanderbilt Soccer Field. The win moves Florida's record to 19-1 for the season, while Arkansas is 7-12 overall.

Arkansas went up 2-0 within the first 10 minutes of the match. UA's Mary Langston put the Lady 'Backs on the board at 6:31 with an 18-yard left shot that went in the upper far post corner. Katie Grigar scored off a corner kick at 9:53, getting the advantage of a shuffle in the box to give Arkansas a 2-0 lead.

Florida responded with two first-half goals within 10 minutes. Junior Angie Olson hit an unassisted 18-yard left shot to the far post at 20:10. Sophomore Andi Sellers got her first of two goals of the evening at 29:22. Heather Mitts sent a deep cross into the box, which Sellers one-touched in the center of the box for a short shot.

"Being down 2-0, I knew we needed kind of a jump start and just needed to get one on the board. The ball bounced out and I saw that the keeper was a little out of position, so I just struck the ball first time and luckily it went in," Olson said.

Arkansas responded just over a minute later, when UA's Michal-Lynn O'Kelley headed in a Holly Collins' free kick at 30:26 to give the Lady 'Backs a 3-2 halftime advantage.

Mitts scored her first goal of the year at 48:46 to knot the score at 3-all. She sent the ball in from right side from 30-yards, which caught the far post and deflected into the goal. The match would remain tied for almost 25 minutes until Sellers hit her second goal of the evening at 72:21. Danielle Murphy sent the corner kick in and Sellers chested the ball into goal at the near post.

"The first one (goal scored by Sellers) came from one of the tactical parts of our game that we try to work on with Heather Mitts coming out of the back. I think she is a real asset for us coming out of the back. She came out, beat her player and slotted it across and all I had to do is put it in the back of the net," Sellers said. "The second one was a good corner by Danielle Murphy and I just had to challenge the keeper for the ball."

Thursday's match marked only the second time in Gator soccer history that UF has allowed three goals and still posted a win.

"A big thing for us is to play for each other, play with confidence. I think once we do that we are fine. What Arkansas did is when they came out early and scored was that they took away a little bit of our confidence. I'm proud of our team for coming back the way we did, particularly being down a couple of times. It's always tougher to play from behind than it is when you are ahead, so for us to come back and get that result, I was real happy with it," Burleigh said. "At this point of the season, a win is a win. Win and you move on. We need to put behind the bad parts of our performance today, learn from that and go into tomorrow's match with a fresh start."

The Gators will meet Vanderbilt in Friday's semifinal. Vanderbilt was 2-1 OT winner over South Carolina in Thursday's opening round. Match time is set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex.

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