The SEC soccer race will come down to the final day of the regular season Thursday. Arkansas leads with 22 points, followed by South Carolina (21) and Florida (19), which tied visiting South Carolina 1-1 on Sunday. A win equals three points and a tie is a point.
The Gators’ goal started Sunday when Julia Lester stepped in front to win the ball just inside the Gamecock half. She sent the ball ahead where Deanne Rose beat two defenders to the ball and then scored on a 16-yard shot to the far post at 68:23.
The Gamecocks (12-1-3, 6-0-3 SEC) tied the match in 83rd minute when Lauren Chang sent the ball ahead into the top of the Gators’ final defensive third. Riley Tanner caught up with the ball, took several touches as she moved toward goal before scoring on a 14-yard left-footed shot.
“I saw a lot of fight from our team for sure — really pushing hard to get the result. That type of effort and loyalty to one another is going to pay dividends in the long run — beyond any result,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “Our players played really hard for one another. We got after it and they kept getting after it. I can’t fault the fight in our players today.”
For the match, Florida (10-6-1, 6-2-1) outshot South Carolina 17-10, with some good opportunities to add to its goal tally. One of the best chances came in the 83rd minute when Rose’s shot heading toward goal was snagged from the air by USC goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski.
Florida’s seven-member senior class – Sammie Betters, Alyssa Howell, Vanessa Kara, Julia Lester, Haillie Lower, Tess Sapone, Alex Stubblebine – were honored in a pre-match ceremony. This class has been a part of the 2016 SEC Tournament title team and advanced to 2016 and 2017 NCAA play.
Florida travels to Athens, Ga., for a Halloween meeting with Georgia at 7:15 p.m.