Special to Gatorsports.com
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Florida’s soccer team withstood playing the final 54 minutes of SEC Tournament opening-round play against Auburn a man-down. Then the Gators posted a dominant penalty kick performance Sunday to claim a quarterfinal spot.
The Gators advance 2-1 on penalty kicks after the two teams played to a 1-1 double overtime tie at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.
Florida (6-9-4) moves ahead to face top-seeded Vanderbilt in Tuesday’s SEC Tournament quarterfinal round. That match is the third of the day and airs live on the SEC Network at 6 p.m. ET.
Florida took the early lead when sophomore Madison Alexander was awarded a penalty kick in the 20th minute. Alexander scored on the penalty kick to put UF ahead. After senior Sarah Troccoli received a red-card in the 57th minute, the Gators were forced to finish with 10 players.
The Tigers (12-5-2) tied the match in the 74th minute when Taylor Troutman headed in an Angeline Daly corner kick.
After two overtime periods, the match went to penalty kicks. The Tigers took the first shot, with Kaylan Marckese making the stop. Marckese then stepped in to take Florida’s first penalty, hitting a successful shot. Auburn missed its first three PKs and Florida’s Tess Sapone was successful in the third position.
When Marckese made the stop on Rocio Sanders’ attempt in the fifth position, the Gators rushed to celebrate the penalty kick win with Marckese.
Earlier Sunday, Florida senior Laís Araujo was named to the All-Southeastern Conference first team. Araujo is tied for third among SEC scorers with five goals and 12 points.
Volleyball: At Starkville, No. 13 Florida swept the Mississippi State, 25-18, 25-21 and 25-20.
The Gators (19-4, 10-1 SEC) have achieved at least 10 SEC wins in each of the 28 seasons under coach Mary Wise. MSU fell to 5-19, 1-10.
Paige Hammons paced the Gators’ offense, finishing with 12 kills and only two errors. Holly Carlton pitched in 11 kills of her own and Taelor Kellum registered seven. Allie Monserez led the team with 15 assists and Marlie Monserez followed with 11. M. Monserez also posted a career-high four kills and three blocks.
Allie Gregory controlled the backcourt defense for Florida, posting 19 digs on the afternoon. Paula Cerame added a career-high eight digs of her own. Rachael Kramer led the defense at the net, recording six blocks in the match.
The Gators return to action Wednesday for a nationally-televised Top-15 matchup at Kentucky. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. on ESPNU.