ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – An early goal stood 83 minutes Tuesday, as Florida soccer upset No. 10 Vanderbilt 1-0 in Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinal play at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.
Florida (7-9-4) moves ahead to its 21st SEC Tournament semifinal to face Arkansas on Thursday. That semifinal is the first of the day and airs live on the SEC Network at 4:30 p.m. LSU faces South Carolina in the other semis at 7 p.m.
The only goal of the match started when Mayra Pelayo sent the ball ahead to fellow senior Laís Arajuo in middle of the box. The touch off Araujo’s leg popped up and then it was a foot race between sophomore Madison Alexander and VU goalkeeper Lauren Demarchi. Alexander got enough of her right toe on the ball to send it toward goal. It caught the lower part of the cross bar and banged it at 6:20 for UF’s earliest goal of the season.
The Commodores (15-3-1) had their opportunities, but the Gator defense kept making the stop. Florida senior goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese made a pair of one-handed second-half saves – including off an eight-yard header by Kaylann Boyd and an 18-yard dipping shot by Grace Jackson – to preserve the shutout.
Both teams recorded 11 shots and each goalkeeper turned in four saves.
Gators aiming for milestone win
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 11 Florida volleyball team is set to face off against No. 12 Kentucky on nationally televised stage. The match will air on ESPNU at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Florida (19-4, 10-1 SEC) sits second in the conference behind Kentucky (16-4, 10-0 SEC). This is the only meeting between two squads this season. This is the third-straight meeting where both teams have been ranked in the Top-15 of the AVCA Coaches Poll – the teams split last season’s meeting 1-1.
Florida – which sits at 999 program wins – has an opportunity to win its 1,000 match as a program against the Wildcats.