Florida Gators soccer defeats LSU 2-1 on Sunday

Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team

GAINESVILLE, Florida - The University of Florida soccer team used a goal in each half to claim a 2-1 win over Louisiana State Tigers Sunday afternoon in front of 1,017 on a beautiful day at the James G. Pressly Stadium.

Sunday's SEC Results

No. 12 Florida 2, LSU 1

Vanderbilt Commodores 1, Arkansas Razorbacks 0

Missouri Tigers 2, Georgia Bulldogs 0

No. 8 Auburn Tigers 2, No. 17 Texas A&M Aggies 0

The Gators put aside their orange & blue uniform options today to wear pink to show their support in the fight against breast cancer. This was Florida's seventh "Kicking for the Cure" match (first in 2009).

Florida's first-half goal started when Savannah Jordan<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/Jordan_Savannah.php>'s shot deep in the box deflected off the cross bar. Brooke Sharp<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/Sharp_Brooke.php> touched the ball out to the top of the box where Betsy Middleton<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/middleton_betsy.php> took a right-footed shot. That shot kicked off the inside of the far post into the goal at 23:13.

Florida's score early in the second half started when senior Claire Falknor<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/falknor_claire.php> brought the ball from the Gator half to the top of the LSU defensive third. She sent the ball right to Jordan, who immediately touched it back before heading toward goal. Jordan caught up the ball Falknor played through the gap into the box, scoring at the near post with a right-footed shot.

LSU broke up the shutout with a goal in the final two minutes. A long free kick deflected to the top of the box where Natalia Gomez-Junco collected the ball, took a couple of touches before taking a shot which kicked off the far post. At the near post, Pina touched the ball out to Lexi Gibbs, who scored from eight yards.

Key Gator Defensive Saves:
With a bit over five minutes left in the opening half, LSU's Gabriela Maldonado took a hard shot at the far post following a Tiger corner kick. Gator goalkeeper Kaylan Marckesehttp://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/marckese_kaylan.php> made the stop on the point-blank shot to keep LSU off the scoreboard for the opening half.

Falknor also played a key role in denying LSU a goal in the 56th minute. A cross to the far post was headed by senior Fernanda Pina. The ball's trajectory was headed to the opposite corner of goal, but was saved off the line by Falknor's high, outstretched leg.

Worth Noting:

*         Middleton's goal was her third of the season, with all coming in the last seven matches. That total equals her collegiate high set in 2014. Middleton has started the last three matches at midfield.

*         Jordan ups her SEC-leading goal total to 14 with her second-half score. She also leads the league with 32 points. Entering this weekend, Jordan ranked No. 2 in the nation in goals and No. 3 in points.

*         Falknor's assist on Jordan's goal was her first of the season. The defender leads the Gators with her average of 89.8 minutes per match average.

*         LSU goalkeeper Catalina Rubiano recorded a collegiate-high 11 saves Sunday. This is the third time this season an opponent turned in 10 or more saves versus the Gators - Kentucky (14), LSU (11) and Jacksonville (10).

What the Gators Said:
On today's match:
"I think we started a little bit rough in terms of our rhythm but we regained that. We subbed a lot in the first half, thinking it would pay off in the second half and it did. I think we wore them down and we were able to get our rhythm back.

"My biggest frustration is that we were a minute and a half away from a shutout, which we desperately want." - Florida head coach Becky Burleigh

On the six point weekend:
"We haven't had one of those in a while, so that great."- Florida head coach Becky Burleigh

On the two-win weekend:
"We've really been focusing on our defending. As a whole team, we've improved on that this season. I think that kind of plays into the two-win weekend. We were strong on defense Friday and Sunday, and I think that we're just building off of that. That gives us confidence going into next weekend. It gives a little bit of energy to go and finish out the SEC season." - junior forward Savannah Jordan

On the first goal of the match:
"We were talking about it at halftime and the reason why it was able to develop was because it was one of the first times in the game were we were able to get ourselves into a two-touch rhythm. We connected four or five passes to get the ball down the field. It was just a quality ball in and a very good effort by some other people in the box to get it in. Fortunately the ball was cleared it directly into my path. All I had to do was pick my head up and put it in the corner.  The reason it happened was because of our quality one-two touch rhythm down the field." - junior midfielder Betsy Middleton

Explain what you saw in the build up to your goal:
"Claire [Falknor] did a great job. We've actually been working on that in practice, trying to build off each other. We've talked about how we have to combine with each other, and I think it really paid off today. She came forward and gave me a great ball, I gave it back to her, she played it perfectly through the gap and I just hit it one time. It was a great set-up by Claire." - junior forward Savannah Jordan

On assist for Savannah to get the goal:
"It's funny because I keep wanting to get forward. I just got the chance to go forward, so we just kept passing off each other. I just remember having clearance and then I saw Savannah [Jordan] and just played it to her." - senior defender Claire Falknor

On other opportunities:
"I think we had a lot of chances, and again that's something that we can continue to grow off of. We want to win, and are happy with the win, but we had a lot of chances that we could have put away. The keeper made some great saves, their defenders got in there and made some great saves as well. That's something we can continue to work on and put some more away." - junior forward Savannah Jordan

On coming away with two wins this weekend:
"It's a huge weekend for us. We seem to be getting into a flow now, figuring each other out and I think it bodes well for our post season and the rest of our season." - junior midfielder Betsy Middleton


Florida: 10-3-1, 4-2-1 SEC
LSU: 8-4-3, 2-4-1 SEC

Florida is ranked No. 12 on the October 6 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll<http://www.nscaa.com/rankings/4535/NCAADivisionI/women/Poll7>.

Next up:
Florida travels to Starkville, Mississippi, to face the MSU Bulldogs on Friday, Oct. 16.

The match will be streamed on SEC Network +<http://es.pn/1OjbCYu> and can be heard on ESPN Gainesville 850AM/95.3FM or on GatorZone.com<http://www.gatorvision.tv/watch/?Live=31>.

LSU (8-4-3, 2-4-1 SEC) at No. 12 Florida (10-3-1, 4-2-1 SEC)

Stadium: James G. Pressly Stadium (1,017)

Weather: 78 degrees, sunny, 65% humidity, winds NNW 6mph

Goals by Period




Scoring Summary:
Goal Scorer

1. 23:13 UF Betsy Middleton Brooke Sharp
2. 49:49 UF Savannah Jordan Claire Falknor
3. 88:21 LSU Lexi Gibbs Fernanda Pina

Shots: Florida 21; LSU 11
Saves: Florida 5 (Kaylan Marckese 4; Team 1); LSU 11 (Catalina Rubiano 11)

Yellow cards: Kristen Cardano/UF - yellow (27:40); Liz Slattery/UF - yellow (54:03); Jorian Baucom/LSU - yellow (80:21); Alex Arlitt/LSU - yellow (87:35); Christen Westphal/UF - yellow (88:08); Natalia Gomez-Junco/LSU - yellow (88:08)
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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.