Roundup: UF soccer plays for SEC title today
Published: Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 12:22 a.m.
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — The No. 23 Florida soccer team (16-6, 7-4 SEC) looks to defend its Southeastern Conference Tournament title today when it meets Auburn (13-6-2, 5-5-1).
What: SEC Tournament championship
Who: UF vs. Auburn
When: Today at 3:30 p.m.
The tournament has produced some upsets, with No. 7 seed Auburn looking for its third of the week today. For the first time in SEC Tournament history, the top two seeds — No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 LSU — were eliminated in first-round action. LSU dropped a 3-0 decision to Auburn in the tournament's opening match and South Carolina lost to Alabama 1-0.
All of Florida's scoring in the tournament has come from its upperclassmen. In Wednesday's opening round, senior Tahnai Annis scored both goals in the first half in the 2-0 win over Georgia. The first started when goalkeeper Taylor Burke sent a ball to just above the Bulldog box. Senior Lindsay Thompson flicked the ball and Annis ran onto to it, fighting through a pair of Bulldog defenders to place the scoring touch. The first corner kick awarded to the Gators resulted in the lead being pushed to 2-0 just seconds before halftime. King headed the ball forward off the corner kick, but it was Annis who got a foot on the loose ball to score her second goal.
In Friday's 2-1 semifinal win against Alabama, the Tide scored first, but that lead lasted less than a minute. Tymrak tied the match at 32:47 when she scored from eight-yards off the ball from Caroline Triglia. Thompson gave the Gators the final margin when she tapped in the through ball from Tymrak in the 81st minute.
The Gators have now advanced to the tournament final five times in Orange Beach. The last two appearances in the final have resulted in the Gators hoisting the trophy, taking the 2007 (4-1 versus Georgia) and 2010 (1-0 versus South Carolina) SEC Tournament titles. Florida has advanced to the SEC Tournament final 13 of its 17 SEC Tournament appearances.
After a 3-0 home sweep against Alabama on Friday, the No. 17 Gators will face Ole Miss this afternoon at the O'Connell Center.
The Gators now look toward Ole Miss, hosting the Rebels on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. on 103.7 FM at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Ole Miss is currently on a three-match win streak after returning all of their key cogs from injury.
“Now the challenge is playing Ole Miss, who we all thought would be making a run for the SEC West title,” Wise said after the win against the Crimson Tide. “… They just had some injuries and started off slow, but they've got it turned around now. I think the team we play Sunday will be the team everybody in the league expected to win the West, in terms of being very athletic and having high volleyball IQ.”
The Florida doubles' team of Billy Federhofer and Nassim Slilam ended their run at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, losing in the semifinals to Tulsa's Clifford Marsland and Ashley Watling, 6-3, 7-5, in Flushing, N.Y.
Federhofer and Slilam saw their 8-match win streak come to an end. Florida returns to action Nov. 11 in its final fall event, the Lakewood Ranch Invitational.
Meanwhile on the women's side, Florida senior Joanna Mather continued her impressive run as she defeated Stanford's second-seeded and seventh-ranked Nicole Gibbs, 6-3, 6-1, in the semifinals.
Mather will face SMU's 10th-ranked Marta Lesniak for the national singles title today. Lesniak, who took out Gator junior Lauren Embree in a three-set round of 16 battle, advanced to the final after defeating Washington's fourth-ranked Denise Dye, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
The swimming and diving team captured the top spot in all but two events during the second day of competition in a double-dual meet against Michigan and Stanford to leave Ann Arbor with two victories under its belt and stand 5-1 on the year. The Gators bested the Wolverines 206-159 and the Cardinals 194-169, to mark the first time since the annual double-dual has taken place in 2008, that the Gators have swam past both competitors in the pool and claimed the top spot. On the weekend, the Gators captured 14 of 20 events.