Gators go for sixth straight win

The No. 18 University of Florida soccer team (8-3-1, 5-1 SEC) heads to Baton Rouge, La., to face LSU (5-4-4, 1-3-2 SEC) Friday at the LSU Soccer Stadium. The Gators continue their road trip to face Southeastern Conference Western Division opponents, meeting No. 5 Texas A&M Sunday in College Station, Texas.

Seven different Gators scored in Florida’s two wins last weekend. Florida opened the weekend with a 3-1 win over Mississippi. Sophomore Havana Solaun put the Gators on the board in the 15th minute when she scored off the cross from Taylor Travis. Fellow sophomore Jillian Graff, making her first start of the season, scored for the second consecutive match with her goal in the 51st minute. The Rebels narrowed the lead to a single goal with their strike in the 54th minute but junior Caroline Triglia gave the Gators some breathing room when she volleyed in the deflection off her shot in the 75th minute. It was Triglia’s first goal of the season.

In Sunday’s 4-0 win over Arkansas, Florida turned in three goals in the opening half. Sophomore Annie Speese scored from 15-yards in the 16th minute. Holly King headed in Christen Westphal’s free kick for her fourth straight Sunday with a set-piece goal. McKenzie Barney finished off the first-half scoring when she scored off the ball from Annie Bobbitt. It was the 30th goal of Barney’s career, making her the seventh in the program’s history to hit that plateau. After a Razorback handball in the box with just 31 seconds remaining in the match, redshirt sophomore Tatiana Perez converted the penalty kick for her first collegiate goal.

Barney, King and Solaun now lead the Gators with four goals each.

LSU was undefeated in its two road matches last weekend. The Tigers opened the weekend with a 1-0 win at Mississippi State. Four goals were scored at Georgia on Sunday – all in the second half. LSU scored first in the 57th minute, but Georgia tied and then took the lead with goals in the 78th and 81st minutes. LSU tied the match with a goal in the 84th minute and the match ended 2-2 2OT. Six share LSU’s goal leads at two each – Alex Arlitt, Maffei Colby, Fernanda Pina, Carlie Banks, Heather Magee and Kaley Blades. LSU is 3-4-3 in 2012 home action. The reigning SEC Players of the Week for defense (Megan Kinneman – goalkeeper) and freshman (Tori Sample) are both LSU Tigers.

In the 2011 meeting between these two teams, a goal off a 30-yard shot by LSU senior Taryne Boudreau in the opening half was all the Tigers needed to claim their first win in the 15-match all-time series with Florida. The Gators outshot the Tigers 16-6 at the James G. Pressly Stadium but were shutout by LSU 1-0.

Three SEC teams are among the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) top 25 and two additional programs are receiving votes. The SECs new additions – Texas A&M and Missouri – are ranked No. 5 and No. 16, respectively. Florida holds the No. 18 spot. Also receiving votes are Alabama and Tennessee.

Courtesy of UF Communications