UF roundup: Soccer team's season comes to an end

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ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Florida soccer's season ended Tuesday with a 5-2 loss to Tennessee in a Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinal at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.

"Tennessee's a really good team and they were a handful today but our team fought until the end," said Florida coach Tony Amato, who saw his first year at the helm end at 4-12-4. "The effort was outstanding and we almost went into halftime tied two-two. We kept fighting in the second half and we got it to 3-2.

"Those last few minutes there we were going for it. We had a lot of numbers forward because we knew our season would end if we didn't get the goal and as a result that opened us up and they punished us for it and that's how the score finished. But we'd rather have that than leave something on the table so credit to our team for going for it." 

Tennessee (16-2) started the scoring with two quick goals. First came at 17:40 when Jaida Thomas intercepted a pass above the box, scoring from 12 yards. Then Abbey Burdette put in the deflection of her own shot off a corner kick for Tennessee's second goal at 19:02.

The second goal of the season for Florida senior Georgia Eaton-Collins cut the lead in half. The free kick sent in by Julianne Leskauskas was headed in by Eaton-Collins from the middle of the box. 

Tennessee pushed the lead out to 3-1 in the 59th minute when Taylor Huff scored from 15 yards off the assist from Hannah Tillett.

Leskauskas cut the lead again to one at 80:51. Kit Loferski sent the ball left for Maddy Rhodes. Her cross found Leskauskas alone just inside the box. Her left-footed strike scored at the far upper slot for Leskauskas' second goal of the season.

The Vols scored twice in the final five minutes, with goals by Mackenzie George at 85:05 and Thomas finishing with her second goal of the match at 89:10.


No. 23 Florida (14-6, 8-2 SEC) welcomes No. .22 Tennessee (16-5, 8-3) to Exactech Arena for a 7 p.m. showdown Thursday.

Florida is coming off a sweep of Missouri on Saturday night, while Tennessee fell to No. 5 Kentucky in straight sets on Oct. 27.

The Gators hold the 53-13 series advantage over the Lady Vols, including a 49-8 record under Mary Wise.