UF SOCCER

Gators fall to Aggies in SEC tourney final


Published: Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Texas A&M scored two second-half goals Sunday to defeat Florida 2-1 and win its first SEC soccer tournament title at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.

Top-seeded Florida, the regular-season co-champion with the Aggies and seeking its 11th tourney title, got on the board in the 27th minute when Annie Speese turned in her third goal of the season off a cross from Savannah Jordan for a 1-0 lead it took to halftime.

“I thought we started out pretty good,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “In terms of compared to the first time that we played Texas A&M, we dealt with their pressure a little bit better.

“In the second half, I think we got a little bit passive and allowed them too much possession in their half instead of pressing them a little bit higher.”

Shea Groom scored her 13th goal of the season in the 56th minute for Texas A&M to knot the score at 1. Freshman Liz Keester's goal in the 84th minute lifted the second-seeded Aggies.

The Gators (17-4-1) played much of the match without Buchholz High alum Havana Solaun, who was injured in the first half.

The Aggies (17-4-1) outshot Florida.

“It's a real feeling of pride for these kids,” Texas A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. “This is special because this is against the champions from last year and the team we were tied with at the end of the regular season, and a team that we have the utmost respect for. It was going to take a special effort.”

Making the all-tournament team for UF were Solaun, Jordan and Christen Westphal. Keester was named the tourney MVP.

Now it's on to the NCAA Tournament for both schools. The selection show will air live at 4:30 p.m. Monday on NCAASports.com. The first rounds next weekend will be at campus sites.

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