November 23, 2014,
Special to GC
GAINESVILLE, Florida - Three goals from three different Gators moved the Florida soccer team onto the NCAA Quarterfinal Round after a 3-2 win over Texas Tech in NCAA Third Round play Sunday afternoon in front of a Donald R. Dizney Stadium crowd of 882.
This win sends Florida to its fifth NCAA Quarterfinal appearance and first since 2003.
Florida now advances to play at Stanford in NCAA Quarterfinal action next Friday. The region’s top seed, Stanford advances with a 1-0 win Sunday over No. 4 region seed Washington.
In Sunday’s NCAA Third Round action, Florida’s first goal came when the ball found Savannah Jordan<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2014&player_id=102> standing with back to goal at the top of the box. She placed the ball right for Havana Solaun<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2014&player_id=86> who was making a run through the Red Raider midfield. Solaun took the ball, evaded a defender and then scored with a right-footed strike from 22 yards in the 14th minute.
A free kick led to the Gators’ second goal in the 21st minute. Jordan was fouled high in TTU’s final defensive third. Annie Speese’s<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2014&player_id=87> left-footed free kick to the corner of the six-yard box was headed in by Jordan.
A goal by Red Raider Sara Summers in the 37th minute cut the lead to a single goal. The Red Raiders were awarded a throw in deep in the Florida half. Erin Inman received the ball and brought it along the top of the box. She popped the ball out right to Summers just inside the box and her left-footed shot scored at the far corner.
Texas Tech tied the match in the 64th minute. Jaelene Hinkle was bringing the ball up on their half on the far sideline. She looked up and launched a ball into the box. Janine Beckie brought the ball down with her chest and then hit a 15-yard strike to the upper slot.
The game-winning goal started when Christen Westphal<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2014&player_id=96> started moving forward with the ball just inside the TTU half. She brought the ball toward goal and her pass found Speese just inside the arch above the box. Fellow midfielder Lauren Smith<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2014&player_id=93> made an overlapping run to Speese’s left, drawing the attention of the TTU defenders. Speese decided to take the shot herself and her 20-yard left-footed strike scored at the near post upper slot.
● This was Speese’s fourth consecutive match with a goal, with half of those being scored as the game-winner. She now has six goals for the season and 23 in her career, which moves her to sole possession of 15th on the Gators Career Goals List.
● Solaun scored her fourth goal of the last six matches and has turned in at least a point in each match during that span. It was the 29th goal of her career, moving her to a tie for 10th with Lindsay Thompson (2008-11) on Florida’s Career Goals Leaders list.
● Jordan has now scored in five of the last six matches, including each of Florida’s NCAA matches. It was her 19th goal of the season, which leads the Southeastern Conference and moves into sole possession of seventh among 2014 NCAA Division I goal leader. It was her 41st goal of her career, which is sixth all-time for the Gators.
Florida: 17-4-1, 9-2 SEC
Texas Tech: 16-4-2, 4-3-1 Big 12
Florida leads the series 2-0. Both meetings (2011, 2014) have come in Gainesville. The Gators won by a 3-0 score when the teams met in early in the 2011 season.
● Florida advances to the NCAA Quarterfinal Round fifth time in the program’s 18 NCAA appearances (1996,’98, 2001, ’03, ‘14).
● Today’s match included two of the four strikers still alive in NCAA play with 16 or more goals this season. Jordan now has 19 goals and TTU’s Janine Beckie finishes her junior season with 17 goals. The other two are both Texas A&M Aggies - Shea Grooms (16 goals) and Kelly Monogue moves onto the list at 17 goals with her two scores today in a 2-1 win over Notre Dame.
● Of Florida’s 56 goals scored this season, 14 (or 25 percent) have come in the final 10 minutes of regulation, including Speese’s game winner today at 80:17.
● The three Gator goal scorers today all appear among Florida’s Top 10 Career Points Leaders. Jordan is No. 7 (41 goals, 11 assists, 93 points), Solaun is No. 9 (29g, 32a, 90pts) and Speese is No. 10 (23g, 27a, 73pts).
● An all-time high three Southeastern Conference teams - Florida, South Carolina, Texas A&M - advance to the NCAA Quarterfinal Round. Previously, Florida was the only team to advance that far.
What the Gators Said:
“We’re extremely excited to be moving on. I think the most rewarding part of that for me is the ability for this team to stay together for more games. It’s just been such a fulfilling season already to be with this group. I think today in particular was sort of like a microcosm of our season. There was some times where we were playing great soccer, and there was some times where it just really came down to effort and how much we wanted it, and we had to really dig deep. I give credit to Texas Tech for giving us everything we could handle. They came after us. We knew they would and to see our team be able to respond the way they did was really rewarding.” - Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On the meaning of the team’s motto “go green”:
“We talked in practice last week about yellow and yellow being kind of cautious. We want to play green, which is just get after it; no regrets. If that means we may make some mistakes doing that, they’re going to be mistakes of aggression instead of mistakes of regret. Players have really taken that message to heart. It’s given them some permission to be more aggressive. We’re still playing smart, but we’re going to be aggressive, and we’re just going to leave it all on the field.”- Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On being able to continue playing with the team:
“Every game that we get to play with each other is so exciting. It’s such a special group. I think what’s so special about us is that we all love playing with each other and for each other. In games like today, when it’s not all about the skill, when the effort comes in and you just love playing for the person next to you, I think it’s games like this that shows.” - senior midfielder Havana Solaun
On scoring early goals:
“Getting off to a quick start - obviously there was a little stretch in the season where we were on the opposite end of that. We know how important it is, and we’ve been putting a big emphasis on it. I think the players have really taken that to heart. I think part of that is that green mindset. Just get after it. Let’s not let another team dictate. Let’s set the tone.” - Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On the turnaround from Friday’s game to today:
“It’s really hard. This is a very, very tough weekend. When you’re playing two games during the season, everybody’s like, well, you’re still doing that during the season, it’s the same thing, but it’s not the same thing because the intensity is just so jacked up. The pressure is jacked up. Our players really took to heart trying to win the interval, and the interval was really short. Basically it was from when the game (Friday) ended until today’s game started. We talked about taking care of your body, whether that’s feeding it right, hydrating, getting good rest, taking yesterday to just relax, but also to kind of get in the right mental state of mind. Even with an interval that short, I think our team won that interval.” - Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On her late game-winning goal:
“It’s kind of a blur. Christen (Westphal) did a great job of bringing it up the field and just played me the ball. Lauren Smith made an overlapping run and drew a defender. I just took the shot, and I think time stood still for a little bit. When it went in, we were just all so excited.” - senior midfielder Annie Speese
On how Annie Speese impacted the game:
“For Speese, she’s just got such a great soccer brain. She’s going to be a great coach after she’s done playing, which will probably go on past here. She understands momentum; she understands settling the ball and pace and how she can impact a game. When she went back in late in the game, I thought it was a huge difference maker for us. It wasn’t even just her being able to settle the ball, it was about the effort she gave too. She won that big header in the midfield. She had a double team with Lou (Lauren Smith) and Claire (Falknor). It’s just the willingness to do some of the dirty work when she knows her strength as a player is some of the more finesse stuff, but the fact that she’s sacrificing some of that to get some of that other work done for us is remarkable.” - Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
Texas Tech Quotes
Coach Tom Stone
“First of all, we’d just like to congratulate the University of Florida on a well-played game. They’re definitely a special team with a lot of good seniors and characteristics that I think should make everybody that likes college soccer excited to watch them. We knew it was going to be a great game. We were pretty disappointed in the first half, obviously, but fought back and scored and made it 2-1 and really felt like in the second half when we equalized, we had them on the ropes. We had decided to just absorb a little more, be a little more conservative defensively and try to counter and get around the outside of them. Obviously Janine (Beckie) hit the post before she scored. Paige (Strahan) was stuffed at the top and kind of went down fighting. It’s not unlike the player who scored the goal to have a piece of class in her game, and I think she scored a nice goal to go ahead for them, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of chances at the other end. We’re bitterly disappointed, to be fair. Once we got our legs under us and realized this game was even, we thought we could win it. We knew we could win it, and the fact that it got away from us was disappointing.”
On coming back from deficits throughout the season:
“I think that initially, it was maybe we didn’t bring our A-game at the beginning, or we lost a little bit of focus in some of those games and let teams get up on us, but as the season went on, I don’t think that was the case. Certainly we can’t say we weren’t ready for Florida; we weren’t taking them seriously. They had our full attention. So I think going down one today was the product of Florida being a good team. They scored a fine goal that they deserved, and so we found ourselves in that hole. The key there is we had done it so many times this year that we weren’t rattled. We just kind of looked around and expected somebody to make a difference for us. Erin Inman and Sara Summers came off the bench. Inman got into a tackle at the top of the box and squared it to Summers, who’s a freshman who probably had the best game of her year today, and she scored a nice goal. It’s funny; we got faster once we scored, we got more energy once we scored and we had life. We were used to that feeling and fully expected to equalize and obviously hoped for more after that. But it’s a great testament to these girls. They don’t get rattled when we’re down. It’s just unfortunate we had to dig ourselves out of that hole again.”
On his thoughts about Florida:
“We didn’t underrate them; there’s no doubt. We fully respected them and knew they were going to have a lot of the ball. They did a lot of the things that we expected. I think we weren’t as physical as they were in the contest. I think that tipped it in their favor a little bit. It’s a pretty big team. But I’ve always been a fan of the way they play, and we’re going to cheer for them as they go through from here. We hoped it was our path, and if it’s theirs, then we’ll get behind them.”
On the impact of the outgoing senior class:
“They’ve really embodied what we’ve been through, and what they’ve given to this program is going to be very difficult to replace. But I told them they’ve left a legacy. When you’re at the beginning of something, you should always be remembered for putting them on the map, and this class and I think the class before them were the two classes that turned the corner for us, and we will be forever grateful.”
On the character of Texas Tech to be able to rally:
“I think it just takes us all knowing that the game’s not going to be over until the ref blows the final whistle. We have threats at every position. We’re great in the back; we have an unbelievable goalkeeper. We have great trust in each other, and we know that when we go down, we’re going to come back. I think we just know that the game’s never over so anything can happen when you’re on the field.”
The Gators and the Stanford Cardinal meet Friday, Nov. 28 in Palo Alto, California, at 10 p.m. ET for NCAA Quarterfinal action. The two teams met at Stanford on Sept. 12, with the Cardinal taking a 1-0 overtime win.