UF soccer team advances to SEC tourney semifinal round


ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Florida advanced to the semifinal round of the SEC soccer Tournament after a 2-1 win over No. 16 Texas A&M on Tuesday.

Parker Roberts and Vanessa Kara provided the goals for the Gators (11-7-1). The Aggies fall to 13-4-3.

“Always expect any match against Texas A&M to be a good one and this one was no different. I thought we did a good job of putting pressure on them early and I think that set the tone for the game,” Florida coach Becky Burleigh said.

Florida will play league regular-season champion Arkansas (15-2-2, 8-1-1), which advanced with a 1-0 win over Ole Miss, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. It will be the first meeting of the season for the teams.

Vanderbilt and South Carolina play in the other semifinal at 7 p.m. Vandy defeated Alabama 2-1 and USC downed Georgia 1-0 in Tuesday’s other quarterfinal matches.

Thursday’s winners face off for the tourney title at 2 p.m. Sunday. All three remaining matches will be carried on the SEC Network.

The Gators’ fourth corner kick led to the only goal of the opening half. The ball sent by Sammie Betters was headed straight up in the air by Roberts. Just before it hit the ground, Roberts’ sliding right foot put the ball in at the near post in the 41st minute.

Betters also played a part in Florida’s second goal in the 63rd minute. From the center circle, Julia Lester played the ball to her right to Betters. The ball Betters sent through the box was run down by Kara. The deep shot by Kara was bobbled by TAMU goalkeeper at the post and was ruled over the line.

“I found myself in a similar position as one of the goals scored against them earlier this season. I made eye contact with Sammie [Betters] and got myself in a good slot. Honestly my angle was bad but I thought ‘I’m going to take a chance on it.’ It found the back of the net, or rather just over the line,” Kara said.

Texas A&M’s Ally Watt, the SEC Forward of the Year, cut the lead to a single goal with her 25-yard free kick.