|Florida 2, Missouri 1
|South Carolina 2, LSU 1
|Auburn 1, Georgia 0
|Ole Miss 1, Vanderbilt 0
|Texas A&M 3, Arkansas 1
|Mississippi State 3, Alabama 2
|Kentucky 1, Tennessee 0
No. 12 Gator Soccer Takes 2-1 Win Over No. 14 Missouri
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Jo Dragotta's first game-winning goal of her career gave the No. 12 Gator soccer team (11-3-1, 8-1 SEC) a key 2-1 victory over No. 12 Missouri (12-3, 7-2 SEC) in front of a James G. Pressly Stadium crowd of 1,779 on a perfect Friday evening.
Both teams came into Friday's match sharing the overall SEC lead with identical league records. Tonight's win moves Florida into sole possession of the league lead with four matches remaining. Texas A&M, after its 3-1 win tonight at Arkansas, is now second in the league standings. Florida defeated Texas A&M also by a 2-1 score last Sunday
Dragotta's blast in the 85th minute completed the Gators' fifth come-from-behind victory of the season. Florida was awarded a corner kick and junior Adriana Leon sent a low, bouncing ball to just above the six-yard box. Dragotta ran onto the ball and her right-footed shot rocketed in untouched to the middle of the net.
The play was just what UF Assistant Coach Alan Kirkup had drawn up.
"The credit goes to our coach Alan Kirkup. He thought of that play and execution is what we have been harping on. It was a perfect ball by Adriana Leon," Dragotta said. "Honestly, I didn't even realize at that moment [that it was a potential winning goal]. I just completely freaked out wondering how much time was left on the clock. It was really exciting. I've never scored a game-winning goal."
The goal was certainly very exciting for one member of the Pressly crowd Friday, as Dragotta's maternal grandmother made her first trip to Gainesville to see Dragotta play.
There were fireworks scheduled post-match for the Gators' "Kicking for the Cure" match but there were some early sparks as Friday's contest was a physical battle. The Tigers controlled the ball for much of the opening half and held an 8-1 shots advantage at halftime and led 1-0 off a set-piece goal.
The Tigers took advantage of its multiple of opening half corner kicks to take the first half lead. Alyssa Diggs, who took the corner, received the ball back as she made a run through the box. Her shot from six yards was deflected by Gator goalkeeper Taylor Burke, but the ball was free in the box and was put in at short range by Jessica Greer in the 25th minute.
"The level of physicality is pretty is pretty much what we expected," UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. "Ultimately it was a game of two halves. We let their pressure get to us in the first half but I think we came out with good composure and aggressiveness in the second half.
The Gators, wearing pink jerseys to show their support for the fight against breast cancer, found the tying goal off their third shot of the second half.
Dragotta played a ball to Erika Tymrak located at the corner of the box. She took a couple of touches toward the center and then the ball deflected to her left to find sophomore Annie Speese. An end line move and then a five-yard left-footed shot gave Speese her third goal of the season.
The shot wasn't what Speese intended.
"Erika Tymrak had the ball and she was coming towards the middle. The defender got a foot on it and it just deflected towards me. I ran around her and took a touch. Honestly, I was aiming back-post and the keeper knew that and I miss-hit it. I got lucky with the near-post," Speese said. "I will take it. A goal is a goal."
For Speese, it was her third consecutive goal against the Tigers as she scored both goals in Florida's 2-0 win at Missouri last season. The assist was the 33rd of Tymrak's career, moving her into a tie for fourth on Florida's career chart.
Finding a key component - composure - helped the Gators get on the scoreboard Friday.
"I think the problem [in the first half] was we weren't playing quickly enough and we just didn't keep our composure. That's such a big word for this team. I feel like we did a lot better with that in the second half," Burleigh said. "Coming back shows a lot about our team that we don't panic when that happens. I have to give credit to Missouri for coming in here and really putting their style of play on us, but I think in the second half we were able to turn that around a little bit and that just made the biggest difference."
Home action concludes Sunday when the Gators face Mississippi State (8-7-1, 1-7-1), 3-2 winners at Alabama Friday, for Senior Day. The careers of Florida's five seniors - McKenzie Barney, Jo Dragotta, Holly King, Erika Tymrak and Kathryn Williamson - will be celebrated in a pre-match ceremony.
Match time is set for 2 p.m. at Pressly Stadium and admission is free. Sunday's match airs live on CSS (Gainesville/Ocala Cox Cable channel 259) with Bernie Guenther and Cameron Broome calling in the action.
Gamecocks Dominate LSU In 2-1 Victory
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina held commanding advantages in shots (18-3) and corner kick (10-2) en route to a dominating 2-1 victory over visiting LSU Friday night at Stone Stadium for the Gamecocks’ second straight conference win. Sophomores Lani Smith and Christa Neary scored for South Carolina to improve the team to 5-6-4 (2-4-3 SEC) while the loss drops LSU to 6-6-4 (2-5-2 SEC).
Smith notched her second goal of the season in the 36th minute and Neary earned her first career goal in the 53rd to lead South Carolina to the victory. LSU’s Jade Kovacevic scored in the 81st by bending in her corner kick for the final tally of the game.
“I’m very proud of their effort,” South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith said. “I told the team they’ve shown their growth over the past few weeks. It’s nice to be able to put some things together and get some wins the last couple of games. They really did a good job to shutout LSU for the most part. Every team in this league is very tough. Every game is a close match. Tonight we really showed what we can do and what we’re capable of.”
South Carolina improves to 9-2-5 all-time in the rivalry and are currently unbeaten in the last five matches against the Tigers. The Gamecocks have not lost at home to LSU since Carolina’s inaugural season in 1995, going unbeaten in the seven matches since at The Graveyard.
The Gamecocks made claim for the early lead with a goal in the 13th minute that was nullified due to an offsides call, the fifth such occurrence in conference play this season against the Gamecocks. Rae Wilson headed the ball to Danielle Au who knocked it into the net, but the Au was whistled for the offsides to bail the Tigers out.
It would take another 25 minutes for the Gamecocks to find the back of the net when Au and Caroline Gray combined on the assists for Smith’s goal. Playing down the right flank, Au’s ball into the area found Gray for a shot that LSU goalkeeper Megan Kinneman tipped right into the waiting foot of Smith for the tap-in. Smith, who entered the game at 34:03, scored at 35:16 to reward Coach Smith on the substitution.
“It was huge,” Smith said of her goal. “It lifted the team a lot. That’s our job as subs, to come in and lift the team. It’s what I wanted to do and I think I helped us continue forward.”
Neary nearly made it 2-0 just before the break with a header off a Romness corner kick that was saved off the line in the final 30 seconds of the half as the Gamecocks went into the break holding a 10-0 shot advantage.
The sophomore defenders would eventually link together for the second goal in the 53rd minute when Neary’s header off Romness’s corner kick sailed into the top of the goal for a ball that Kinneman couldn’t reach to make it 2-0. Smith came close to scoring her second of the night in the 70th on a strike in the box that Kinneman saved before the Tigers earned their first shot of the match in the 73rd minute. Using the attempt as motivation, LSU went on an offensive and fired off two more shots in the match with Danielle Murphy’s header in front of the net tip-saved by D’Angelo in the 81st minute leading to Kovacevic’s corner kick goal at 80:36.
“They were excellent,” Smith said of her defensive effort. “They read the plays well and were patient in their defending. They cleared their line and won 50-50 balls. They did everything we asked, and Sabrina behind was confident and aggressive. She had a great save again tonight. We just played well and made the plays we needed to.”
South Carolina hosts Tennessee Sunday at 1 p.m. in the final match of a four-game homestand.
Howard Backstops Auburn To 1-0 Win At Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. – Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard came up with huge save after huge save and a late Georgia turnover led to the night’s only goal as the Auburn soccer team (9-7-0, 5-4-0 SEC) earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at Georgia (6-8-2, 2-5-2 SEC) on Friday night. Howard finished the night with seven saves while Tatiana Coleman’s team-leading fifth goal was the difference on the scoreboard.
“Amy Howard did what she needed to do to give us a chance to win,” Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. “When you play on the road in this league you are going to be under even more pressure than typically you are at home. As a goalkeeper you are never going to win the game for the team but you are going to give the team a chance to win and that’s what happened here tonight.”
Howard moved into second place in Auburn history and sole possession of sixth place in the SEC record books with her seven saves, giving her 333 for her career.
“There have been a ton of top goalkeepers to come through this conference and we play in such a tough conference that any accomplishment says a lot. I am really honored to be on the list,” Howard said. “I thought our backs played awesome. You have to give UGA credit. They found ways around us and when they did get around us we had a ton of blocked shots. We had people throwing themselves in the last six minutes to block shots. All-in-all I thought our defense played awesome.”
The lone goal came following a Georgia turnover deep in its own territory as Coleman stole a cross, dribbled to the top of the 18 and drilled a shot to the opposite corner of the net for her fifth goal of the season in the 84th minute.
“I saw the keeper and I saw the defender, Torri Allen, right in front of me and I knew that if I shot it right and there she would have blocked it so I took one more touch and blasted it and it went in,” Coleman said. “My mentality when I came back in was to get a goal for my team.”
Howard was almost solely responsible for keeping Georgia off the board in the first 45 minutes, coming up with five total saves, including a couple of fantastic stops on point-blank Georgia shots. Her most impressive may have been her last as she stopped a Bella Hartley save with just over four minutes left in the half.
Auburn also had quality chances in the first half but could solve Georgia goalkeeper Ashley Baker, who had three saves in the half and finished with eight on the night. Mary Coffed ripped a shot right into the midsection of Baker from 10 yards out early on and then Ana Cate missed on a one-touch on the doorstep, sending it wide in the latter stages of the half.
Ashley Kotero’s header just a minute into the second half off of a Tori Ball corner was headed straight to the inside of the post but a pair of Georgia defenders kept the match scoreless. Just minutes later Auburn benefitted from a missed Georgia opportunity as Tori Cooper banged a shot off the post, sending a rebound right to Andie Fontanetta. Fontanetta could have walked the ball in but instead took a shot from the top of the six that went wide, keeping the match scoreless with 38 minutes left in regulation.
The one-goal match was the 11th in the last 14 meetings between the team programs, with two of the others ending in a tie.
Auburn remains on the road for Sunday’s match as it travels to Arkansas for a 1pm kickoff at Fayetteville.
Hiskey Propels Rebels Past Vanderbilt
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jessica Hiskey had a triumphant homecoming on Friday night as the freshman scored her first career goal on Friday night to propel Ole Miss (11-5, 4-5 SEC) to a 1-0 victory over Vanderbilt (5-6-5, 2-3-4 SEC) and kick-off a weekend road trip for the Rebels.
Hiskey, a Nashville native, notched her goal in the 43rd minute as the defender went on the attack for the Rebels and put the ball in the net to put Ole Miss on the board. The halftime lead would hold through the second half as the Rebels picked up the win.
It marks the seventh shutout victory of the season for Ole Miss and second straight as the Rebels shutout Kentucky in a 2-0 victory this past Sunday.
Ole Miss out-shot the Commodores 12-to-4 for the match.
“This was a great win tonight. It’s always tough on the road in the SEC,” said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. “We beat a good Vanderbilt team tonight. We’re really happy with the shutout and the way the team fought for 90 minutes. It was a great goal from Jessica Hiskey there in the first half to get us on the board and the defense played well to help us pick up the win.”
Ole Miss got off to a quick start on the Commodores, applying pressure with the offense as the Rebels out-shot Vanderbilt 7-to-1 in the first half. Ole Miss took five shots before the home-standing ‘Dores got their only shot of the half as the Rebels came out of the gates firing.
Hiskey got the Rebels on the board in the 43rd minute when she drilled a shot from 24 yards out that went in low at the far post. The goal was the first for the attacking defender who is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week.
Ole Miss led 1-0 at the half.
The Rebel offense continued to press the Commodores in the second half, while sophomore goalkeeper Kelly McCormick and the Ole Miss defense continued to hold on to the shutout down the stretch and pick up the victory.
McCormick posted a pair of saves on Vanderbilt’s four shots as the Ole Miss defense limited Vanderbilt’s scoring chances on the night.
Ole Miss will return to action on Sunday when the Rebels take on the South Carolina Gamecocks at noon CT at South Carolina.
Aggies Net 3-1 Win Over Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Kelley Monogue notched a pair of first-half goals and Meghan Streight added a second-half tally to help No. 9 Texas A&M Soccer bring home the bacon with a 3-1 win over Arkansas at Razorback Field on Friday evening.
The Aggies maintained its prowess on set pieces in the triumph with one corner kick goal and one free kick goal. A&M has at least one set piece goal in all nine SEC games and a total of 13 in league action.
The victory improved Texas A&M to 13-2-1 overall and 7-1-1 in SEC play. With 22 points, the Aggies moved past Missouri (21 points) for second place in the SEC overall standings. A&M trails Florida, who moved up to 24 points following a 2-1 victory over Mizzou on Friday evening.
With the win, the Aggies maintained their seven-point lead over Auburn in the SEC Western Division standings. Texas A&M can wrap up the division title, outright, with a win on Sunday coupled by with a victory by Arkansas over visiting Auburn.
Monogue lit the fuse on the Aggies’ offense at the halfway mark of the first half. Shea Groom used speed and desire to get past two defenders and work the ball to end line on the left side. She launched a cross into the box that caused problems for Arkansas defenders. A deflection put the ball to the foot of Monogue who launched a shot from the penalty spot to stymie an unfortunate Arkansas goalkeeper and the Aggies staked claim to a 1-0 advantage with 22:31 remaining until the intermission.
Texas A&M continued its success on set pieces in league action to inflate the cushion to 2-0. In the 30th minute, Chelsea Jones delivered a perfect corner kick offering from the left corner arc. Monogue, who was standing three yards off the near post, made easy work of the header, flicking it into the net for the two-goal lead.
With 8:11 remaining in the first half, the Razorbacks (6-8-1, 3-5-1 SEC) took advantage of an errant back pass by the Aggies to trim the lead to 2-1. Allie Chandler found the ball at her feet in unmarked 20 yards out on the right side. She dribbled parallel to the end line, settling for a shot at the top of the penalty box, putting it to the right side of a diving Jordan Day.
The Aggies were weaning off a 2-1 lead, when they used another set piece to add an insurance goal in the 76th minute. Jayne Eadie booted a free kick from 10 yards right of the center circle. Her offering found Streight six yards in front of the goal mouth. Streight got a boot on the pass to redirect it past the Razorbacks’ netminder, and the Texas A&M lead snowballed to 3-1 with 13:16 remaining in the contest.
Day went the distance in goal for the Aggies. She made four saves, including three while A&M was protecting a one-goal lead early in the second stanza.
Texas A&M owned a decisive advantage in shots, 21-13, and edges in shots on goal, 7-5, and corner kicks, 5-4.
The Aggies return to action on Sunday when they travel to Nashville for a 1 p.m. contest against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Sullivan, Heltsley Score as Bulldogs Beat Alabama, 3-2
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Elisabeth Sullivan scored twice and assisted Halee Heltsley’s goal as the Mississippi State team put together a strong second-half rally to defeat Alabama 3-2 Friday night at the UA Soccer Complex.
State scored all three goals in the game’s final 15 minutes as the team improved to 8-7-1 overall and 1-7-1 in SEC play.
The Dawgs claimed their first win over the Crimson Tide since 2007, and the first in Tuscaloosa since 2004.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime following a Lindsey Sillers putback, the Bulldogs tied the game 1-1 in the 75th minute off Heltsley’s second goal of the season.
Sullivan worked past a pair of Alabama defenders and slipped a ball through the back line to Heltsley. The Shepherdsville, Ky., native drove toward the goal and put a ball in the upper corner of the near post.
“It was so exciting to hit the goal. I got hit right when I shot it, so I didn’t know it went in,” Heltsley said.
Sullivan gave Mississippi State the lead three minutes later when she put in the rebound off a Honeye Heydari shot that was blocked by UA goalie Shelby Church.
Alabama leveled the match with seven minutes left when Pia Rijsdijk scored at the far post on a corner kick.
The determined Dawgs kept fighting, though, and Sullivan scored the winner off a free kick. Morganne Grimes sent the ball into the box, and the ball bounced around before landing at the feet of Sullivan for the game-clincher.
“It was such a big win. We are so excited to finally break through. The first goal, Honeye hit it really hard and the goalkeeper dropped it. I followed it up and put it in the goal,” Sullivan said. “The second one, I was in the right place at the right time. The ball came out to me at the penalty kick spot, and I hit it in the corner.”
The Bulldogs improved to 8-7-1 overall and 1-7-1 in the SEC with the win.
“I’m delighted for our players. We’ve had some tough decisions go against us this year, but they have stuck with the game plan and kept working,” Neil Macdonald said. “They deserved to take the win tonight. It was a great performance for the team tonight.”
Alabama claimed a 25-11 shots advantage, but the on-goal chances were much tighter, with the Tide taking an 11-8 edge.
The Bulldogs fought off some serious Alabama challenges, including a couple of big 1-v-1 saves by MSU senior goalie Skylar Rosson.
Rosson, who became the second Bulldog goalie to eclipse 300-career saves last weekend, made six saves in the contest. Church had five stops as Alabama fell to 7-6-2 overall and 2-5-2 in the league.
The Bulldogs return to action Sunday, traveling to Gainesville to meet No. 12 Florida at 1 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by Comcast Sports Southeast.
Kentucky Topples Tennessee in Critical 1-0 Road Win
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – With a Kelli Hubly goal in the 70th minute off a great near-side run that was finished into the far-side netting, the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team (9-5-1, 4-4-1 SEC) defeated the Tennessee Lady Vols 1-0 in an incredibly tight and physical game played in front of a large crowd at Regal Soccer Stadium in Knoxville.
“Tennessee (10-4-2, 5-3-1 SEC) is a great team,” Kentucky head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “We knew coming in they were going to be incredibly organized defensively and how difficult they were going to be to break down. We have all the respect for Brian (Pensky) and his staff,”
The Wildcats and Lady Vols played a tight first half, with UK controlling the ball for much of the half. The Wildcats took nine shots in the opening 45 minutes, compared to UT’s five. Kentucky had a chance to convert on two corner kicks, all while limiting the Lady Vols’ forwards to just three shots in the opening frame.
Of the Wildcats 10 starting field players, seven of them recorded a shot, including four of the six attacking players in the Wildcats starting lineup.
UK got on the board in the 70th minute of the game, with the game-winning goal when freshman Kelli Hubly sliced her way through the UT defense on a near-side run. The ball fed in from center by Arin Gilliland, who started the game as a forward for the first time in the 2012 season.
Hubly collected the ball about 20 yards from goal, cut to the inside and took a few touches before ripping a shot past keeper Julie Eckel for the goal. Gilliland was credited with the assist, marking her team-high fifth assist of the year, while the goal was Hubly’s team-leading fifth of the season as well.
“We played really well,” Lipsitz said. “We knew this was going to be a defensive game, we just had to make sure we took advantage of out chance when we had it. It was a great goal to win it.”
Kentucky used Kayla King in the cage, as the junior from Louisville, Ky., posted her second-career shutout, collecting her eighth win of the season. King charted three saves and faced 15 UT shots.
The game was even throughout, as the Wildcats and Lady Vols ended up dead even at 15 shots apiece. UT earned six corner kicks to UK’s four on the night.
The win was the Wildcat’s third in four tries against Tennessee as Kentucky has now won the last two meetings with the Lady Vols in Knoxville. The Cats defeated Tennessee 1-0 in all three of the wins in the last four games.
UK is back in action Sunday afternoon for its final road game of the season at Georgia. The showdown in Athens, Ga., will kick off at 2:00 p.m. ET.