COLUMBIA, S.C. — Florida’s soccer season ended Friday after a 2-0 loss to regional top seed South Carolina in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.
The Gamecocks (19-2-1) advance to the College Cup in Orlando next weekend. Florida, the region’s No. 3 seed, finishes at 17-7.
For the match, Florida outshout USC 13-7, but the Gamecocks were good on their two shots on goal for the difference in the match.
South Carolina is making its first NCAA semifinal appearance. The Gamecocks were No. 1 regional seeds each of the last three seasons. South Carolina faces the tournament’s top seed, Stanford, next Friday in Orlando at the Orlando City Stadium. Stanford was a 4-0 winner over Penn State earlier today.
This is the fourth appearance for the Southeastern Conference program in NCAA women’s soccer’s 36-year history (Florida: 1998, 2001; Texas A&M 2014).
“Congratulations to South Carolina,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “That’s who I’ll be rooting for next week in the College Cup.
“It was a really good game — just what we expected. We were disappointed to give up that goal on the corner, as I thought we had that covered. It was an outstanding effort by (Grace) Fisk to get over us for the header. Even after that, I thought we were in it. In fact, I thought we were still going to win it at that point.
“The second goal was a little bit of a back-breaker, but what ran through my mind at that point is ‘This is going to be a heck of a story.’ Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the one (goal) to get the flow going and they closed it out.”
No. 3 Gators seeking share of SEC title today
Florida can clinch a share of its 23rd Southeastern Conference volleyball title with a win at Missouri on Saturday. Kentucky clinched at least a share of the SEC title Friday for the first time since 1988.
Today’s match will also be significant for the Gators’ NCAA Tournament seeding, as they are in contention for one of the four coveted No. 1 seeds.
If the Gators (24-1, 16-1 SEC) win Saturday, their 23 league titles would be the 10th-most in SEC history across all sports, regardless of gender. Moreover, since the league’s first volleyball season in 1979, Florida’s 23 SEC titles would be the fourth-most in any sport, regardless of gender.
Another significant storyline: Florida coach Mary Wise enters Saturday with 899 career victories. A win would make her the third female head coach in NCAA history to reach the 900-win plateau.
Florida and Missouri (20-10, 13-4) met roughly two weeks ago in Gainesville, with the Gators grinding out a 3-1 win on senior day.