UF soccer wins share of SEC regular season title


The Florida soccer team celebrates after winning a share of the SEC regular season title on Thursday in Athens, Ga. (Photo courtesy of UF Communications)

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 11:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 11:40 p.m.

ATHENS, Ga. — The tricks and treats on Halloween went to the Florida soccer team as the Gators won a share of the Southeastern Conference title with a 5-1 win over Georgia.

“It never gets old,” UF veteran coach Becky Burleigh said. “It was an exciting finish. Thirteen is my lucky number and it is 2013 and this is our 13th title so I'm all down with that.

“I think we had a little adversity at the beginning of this game, but the team managed to battle through that. We scored against the run of play early and then kept scoring. It was good for us to show some relentlessness in this game and that is exactly what happened.”

An unusual goal put the Gators (15-3-1, 9-2 SEC) up in the 16th minute. Sophomore Christen Westphal's 40-yard free kick went over the Bulldog goalkeeper's head and bounced untouched into the goal.

Florida scored again in the opening half when junior Havana Solaun played a ball to freshman Savannah Jordan just at the top of the Georgia defensive third.

Jordan beat her defender to place the ball in from 14 yards.

Later in the half, Solaun took advantage of a Bulldog defensive miscue. The ball was played shallow by the UGA goalkeeper and Solaun recovered the ball to place it in the empty goal. Florida's final goal of the half came when Jordan headed in a Solaun corner kick to the far corner.

Jordan upped her season goal total to 20 — one more than Abby Wambach in her freshman season with the Gators in 1998.

The Bulldogs (12-6-1, 5-5-1 SEC) ended the Gators' shutout streak with a goal by Madeline Barker in the 50th minute. Florida entered the match with on a six-match shutout streak and the Bulldog goal in the 50th minutes stopped the shutout streak at 609 minutes.

The lead was pushed back out the four in the 65th minute when junior Annie Speese successfully converted a penalty kick after the Bulldogs were whistled for a handball in the box.

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