UF soccer gets SEC win over Auburn

Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 10:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 10:43 p.m.

After suffering tough back-to-back, one-goal Southeastern Conference losses, including a 2-1 heartbreaker Friday at home to South Carolina with less than 90 seconds left in double overtime, Florida coach Becky Burleigh had a little heart-to-heart with her squad.

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Florida's Pamela Begic got UF on the board Sunday in the 15th minute with a header, her fourth goal of the season.

Brett Le Blanc/Correspondent/FILE

“We talked (Saturday) in our team meeting about communicating better, about playing with a bit more team toughness,” Burleigh said.

“We have some individual toughness, but looking at that as what it looks like as a team, and also getting a little bit better at our execution and our decision-making.”

The eighth-ranked Gators responded by dominating Sunday's match with Auburn, riding three first-half goals to a 3-0 win before a crowd of 681 at Pressly Stadium.

“It feels really good,” said senior midfielder Caroline Triglia, who scored UF's last goal in the game's 39th minute with a short header following a perfect cross from sophomore Lindsey Cooper, who got the assist.

“We know that now our destiny is in our hands. We can't lose any more, we can't tie any more, so today's win was huge.”

The Gators (9-3-1, 3-2) came out crisp and aggressive, controlling the action early and getting on the board in the 15th minute on a header from freshman Pamela Begic.

Sophomore Christin Westphal got things started with a well-placed corner kick into the goalie box that UF freshman forward Savannah Jordan got a head on.

Tiger defender Kim Spence cleared the ball just before it crossed the line, but it floated in the air in front of the goal and Begic, a 6-foot Slovenian native, was able to get her head on the deflected ball and put it just inside the post for her fourth goal of the season before colliding with Auburn goalkeeper Alicen Wright, who was also airborne.

Both players landed hard, but Begic got the worst of it, with her head bouncing hard on the ground.

After several minutes, they were both able to leave the field under their own power.

Neither, however, returned, with Wright replaced in goal by Alyse Scott.

“That was a really brave goal,” Burleigh said. “That took a lot of courage because she knew she was going to get hammered on that goal. We talked about that before the game started, and to see that executed was nice.”

Burleigh noted Begic appeared to be fine but would be further evaluated.

In the 30th minute, freshman Liz Slattery intercepted a pass and found junior Jillian Graff with a nice pass, and Graff put the ball past Scott to make it 2-0, earning Slattery her first career assist.

UF, which connected on 3-of-6 first-half shots, finished the match with a 14-5 shot advantage but could not add to the lead. It didn't matter, though, as freshman goalkeeper Nora Neset Gjoen kept the Tigers (4-8-1, 0-5) off the board with four saves.

“I liked the way we played overall,” Burleigh said. “I'm happy to get a shutout and get back into the win column.”

The Gators have just one game this week, a road match at Mississippi State Friday at 8 p.m.

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