|Florida 2, Florida Gulf Coast 0
|Kentucky 1, UT Martin 0 (OT)
|Texas A&M 1, Stephen F. Austin 0
|Auburn 2, Washington 1
Florida Downs FGCU In Opening Round Of NCAA Championship
Donning their sharp new orange and blue striped uniforms, the No. 2 regional seed Florida Gator soccer team (18-4-1, 11-2 SEC) defeated the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (14-4-3, 7-1-1 A-Sun) in NCAA Championship opening round play. The win provided Florida’s Becky Burleigh the 400th win of her coaching career. With the 3 p.m. start time at the James G. Pressly Stadium, it was the first match of the entire NCAA Championship as others would be played later Friday night.
Coming off last Sunday’s 3-0 win over Auburn to claim its 10th Southeastern Conference Tournament title, Florida shutout their opponent not only in goals, but defensively the Gators overpowered the Eagles. The Eagles, who won their conference tournament title against Mercer last week, recorded zero shots to Florida’s 19.
“The main objective was to win and advance and that’s what we did,” Burleigh said. “I was pleased with our ability to keep them off the board in terms of shots and opportunities. I thought we were a bit unlucky not to score more than two. We kept possession for long stretches of the game so there’s not more we could really ask for.”
The Gators’ first score came in the middle of the first half from a give-and-go between Erika Tymrak and Adriana Leon with Tymrak pushing her season goals lead to nine. It started when Tymrak passed the ball off to Leon at the top of the 18-yard box. Just before defenders closed in on her, Leon back-heeled the ball to an open Tymrak who then slammed the ball in the top right corner of the net past the reach of FGCU goalkeeper Brittany Brown at 21:10.
“I was dribbling the ball and I saw Dri [Adriana Leon] at the top of the box and I played it to her,” Tymrak said. “And Becky [Burleigh] always gets on us about continuing our run and so I kept on running and Dri gave me a heal pass that, as Alan [Kirkup, UF Assistant Coach] would say, is on another level. It was incredible what she did.”
The Gators took seven shots in the first half but could only turn one into a goal.
“I think the most important thing is that we are getting the chances,” Tymrak said. “I think that finishing them will eventually come but that we’re getting the chances is huge for our team.”
Florida took 12 shots in the second half and added another goal. The Gators’ attempts were repeatedly cut off by goalkeeper Brown of FGCU who recorded nine saves in the match, a career high for the freshman.
“Defensively Brownie [Brittany Brown] kept us in the game,” said FGCU head coach Jim Blakenship. “She stood on her head for us.”
With only 14 minutes to go in the match, Annie Speese made the final score to seal the Gators’ first-round victory. Havana Solaun pushed the ball out wide right to Tymrak who was about eight yards out when she crossed the ball to the feet of Speese after Solaun, continuing her run, dummied the ball off to her. Speese then roofed the ball to the middle of the goal, which made it her sixth score of her sophomore season.
“At halftime Becky talked to us about putting the crosses in the box and just driving them in. Then it was on the people making the runs if we didn’t get there,” Speese said. “Erika did a great job of playing it. She ran down the endline and the defenders were checking back with her so I found the gap back at the penalty kick spot and I kind of screamed for her and she heard me. Havana [Solaun] was there too but I called her off and just hit it and got kind of lucky.
“It was good to get one out of the many that I missed,” she said with a chuckle.
At the 26th minute of the match, redshirt senior defender Kathryn Williamson entered the game for the first time since Sept. 2 when she tore her right meniscus against Florida International.
“I was a little nervous,” Williamson said. “It’s been quite some time, but it was great to have some minutes today.”
The All-American’s first appearance in the game created some emotions for her teammates.
“I almost started tearing up actually,” Tymrak said. “I’ve played with Kat [Williamson] the last four years and it’s been a long season without her and that fact that she’s back, it feels so good.”
The Gators will either face Miami (FLA) (9-7-3, 4-4-2 ACC) or UCF (17-4-1, 8-3-0 Conference USA) next Friday in NCAA Second Round action. The Gators beat the Knights in preseason play 2-0 back in August while they suffered their first loss of the 2012 season to the Hurricanes 4-1. Times and site will be announced by the NCAA later this weekend.
Kentucky Picks Up First NCAA Win In Overtime
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A golden goal off the boot of freshman Kelli Hubly in the 93rd minute was enough to propel the University of Kentucky women’s soccer team (14-6-1, 8-5-1 SEC) past the UT Martin Skyhawks 1-0 in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship, recording the first-ever NCAA Tournament win in the program’s history.
“This is a really special moment for this program,” UK head coach Jon Lipsitz said. “One of the things that I talk about a lot is leaving a legacy and doing special things while you are here. I was brought here four years ago to make it to this moment. This is why I was hired. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Mitch Barnhart having the confidence in me to allow me to have honor to be the head coach here."
The golden goal came off a near-side run down the right wing as the ball was served out wide by sophomore Arin Gilliland from the center of the field. Hubly was 1v1 on the flank, and ripped a shot past a diving Mariah Klenke for the game-winner into the far post after cutting back towards the field of play. The goal was Hubly’s sixth of the season, while Gilliland charted her seventh assist of the season. It is Hubly’s third game-winning goal in 2012, tying her with Gilliland for most on the team.
“I didn’t think it was real life,” Hubly said. “When I got the ball I was like ‘What do I do?’. Every day in practice we work on those. We worked on them this morning because I wasn’t getting them right. It was really exciting with the whole dog pile and everything. I was just screaming. It is a great feeling.”
The win over the Skyhawks (13-6-3, 8-1-1 Ohio Valley) marks the first time in program history that Kentucky women’s soccer has ever won an NCAA Tournament game, breaking an 0-7-1 mark that was held before Friday night’s contest. It is also the first postseason win (SEC/NCAA Tournament) for UK under Lipsitz.
Kentucky played good possession soccer for most of the game, not allowing UT Martin to even record a shot in the final 56 minutes of the game. Kentucky outshot UTM by a count of 15-3 with seven of Kentucky’s 15 shots being on target.
Kayla King was only forced to make one save in the contest, shutting out her sixth opponent of the season, and improving her record to 13-3-0 in the 2012 campaign. King has now posted a shutout in five of the last seven games between the pipes.
The Wildcats had plenty of chances all night long, as 10 of the 13 field players recorded a shot in the game, led by Gilliland who had a game-high five attempts on goal.
Kentucky now moves on and faces the winner of Saturday’s (3) UCLA and Wisconsin match. The second round game will be either in Los Angeles, Calif., or San Diego, Calif., depending on what seeds advance into the second round. Regardless of outcome, Kentucky will be playing on Friday.
Texas A&M Advances Past Stephen F. Austin
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Annie Kunz scored the game's lone goal and the Texas A&M defense logged its 14th shutout of the season as the No. 15 Aggies defeated Stephen F. Austin, 1-0, in NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship first round action at Ellis Field on Friday evening.
With the win, Texas A&M improved to 18-4-1 overall and the Aggies will advance to the second round to play the winner of Saturday's match between Oakland and Ohio State. The second round game will be played next Friday in Tallahassee, Fla.
SFA's best season in program history came to a close with a 17-4-0 mark. The 17 wins are a program best.
The Ladyjacks, playing in their third NCAA Championship, dictated the terms of play early in the contest, outshooting the Aggies 7-1 in the first 25 minutes of action. There were tense moments for Texas A&M early in the match when Zuri Prince slipped past the defense for a clear shot in the seventh minute of action but missed wide right. Laura Sadler missed a scoring opportunity in the fifth minute, with her shot also going just a few feet wide.
Texas A&M made its second shot of the game count as Bianca Brinson was able to slip a pass through the SFA defense from the top of the penalty box finding Kunz in front of goal at the top of the six-yard box. Kunz knocked the ball to the left of the Ladyjacks' netminder Lacey Lee for her 12th goal of the season. It was just the seventh goal allowed by Lee the entire season.
The Aggies' Leigh Edwards hit the crossbar on a shot with 15 minutes remaining in the first half, but that was the last threat of the half and the A&M went into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Both teams threatened the scoreboard in the second half. Annie Kunz had a pair of shots that nearly added to the score as her shot from 15 yards out in the 59th minute hit the right post and her shot in the 88th minute went a foot wide. SFA's Melissa Gaudet sent a ball with pace through traffic, but Aggies' goalkeeper Jordan Day was able to get a mitt on the ball to hold the Ladyjacks at bay.
After being outshot by the 7-1 margin early on, Texas A&M was able to hold the final shot margin, 18-13, including 12-5 in the second half. The Aggies held a slim margin in shots-on-goal (6-4) while Stephen F. Austin owned a large lead in corner kicks (8-1) which it was unable to capitalize on.
Day made four saves in goal to push her school-record mark to 13, two shy of the SEC record of 15 set by South Carolina's Mollie Patton in 2009.
Lee made five saves for Stephen F. Austin.
The Aggies are now 14-2-2 all-time in NCAA First Round action and have advanced to the second round on 16 occasions. Texas A&M's 18 wins this season are tied for third-most in school history, trailing just the 2002 (20-5-1) and 1996 (19-4) campaigns.
The Aggies improved to 14-0 all-time against teams from the Southland Conference and have yielded just one goal against the league, which came in A&M's 2007 NCAA Championship first round game against SFA, a 4-1 win.
Auburn Advances To NCAA Second Round With 2-1 Win At Washington
SEATTLE, Wash. – The Auburn soccer team jumped out to a two-goal lead just 15 minutes in to the match and then hung on to defeat Washington, 2-1, in the NCAA Tournament First Round. The win, Auburn’s first-ever on an opponent’s home field in NCAA Tournament action, advances Auburn into the second round for the second straight year and the sixth time overall.
“It’s always difficult to win in this tournament, especially on the road, and I think our team just gutted it out,” Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. “We knew we would face adversity. Washington is a great opponent. We caught a couple of breaks in front of the goal and I thought Amy Howard made some great saves and great plays on services in the second half to keep us in it. We are real excited to live to play another day.”
Despite being out-shot (15-9) and out-cornered (10-4) by Washington (10-8-3), Auburn (13-10-1) rode the momentum of the two early goals to its’ first-ever win over a Pac-12 school.
Tori Ball lit the board just 2:12 minutes into the match to give Auburn the early advantage. A Mary Coffed cross into the box created havoc in front of the Washington net. Ball, who was in the six along with Ana Cate, had two attempts at the goal. The first went off the mitts of Washington goalkeeper Kari Davison and right back to Ball, who sent it in for her sixth goal of the season.
Auburn’s attack struck again at 14:13 as it capitalized on a corner for its third goal off that particular set piece this year. Ball was again involved, serving the ball to a crashing Mary Nicholson, who headed it in for her first goal of the year and a 2-0 Auburn lead. The goal was the second of Nicholson’s career and the first since a 4-1 win over Middle Tennessee State on Aug. 26, 2011.
“Tori had a perfect corner kick,” Nicholson, a defender, said. “Our offense played well to get the corner and she served a perfect ball in. I have been thinking about scoring a goal for pretty much my entire career. It was pretty exciting to get one, and a big one at that.”
From that point on it was up to Howard and the rest of the defense to hold Washington off the board.
“From the get-go (Washington) got end line and got some serves in and their players were hard,” Howard said. “Our defense played awesome but they definitely gave us a run for our money. They were very good.”
Lindsay Elston would not let Washington go down without a fight as she put the Huskies on the board in the 38th minute with her 11th goal of the season, striking a ball from 40 yards out over Howard, who leapt but couldn’t get a glove on the ball to make a 2-1 advantage going into the half.
Howard had to make two big saves in the second half as Washington found itself on the doorstep multiple times but was only able to put two of its seven second-half shots on frame.
“(Washington) was coming at us but our defense was throwing their bodies at the ball, blocking shots,” Howard said. “As a team we really came together and won it as a team.”
Auburn has to wait until Saturday afternoon to see who it will play and where in the Second Round as the BYU-Utah State game was postponed because of snow in Provo, Utah. Should BYU win Auburn would travel to Provo to face BYU but should Utah State win Auburn would most likely head to Milwaukee, Wis., to face Utah State as Marquette, the No. 4 seed in the bracket, already won.