ORANGE BEACH, Ala. –A hard 18-yard shot by senior Shana Hudson in the 107th minute gave the No. 21 University of Florida soccer team (15-4-2, 9-2 SEC) the 1-0 2OT win over LSU (11-4-7, 5-2-4 SEC) in Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinal play Friday evening at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.
It was quickly evident that this match was not going to resemble the 5-0 win the Gators recorded over LSU on Oct. 28 in Gainesville, Fla. The Tigers added another player to the backline for this match, putting four in the back. Florida did outshoot the Tigers 22-2 in Friday’s match, but were unable to finish any of previous nine shots on goal recorded before Shana Hudson’s goal.
“We should have expected a team that was looking to keep their season alive,” Shana Hudson said. “We sat back early in the game, but we eventually got into the game after about 20 minutes. But in the end, I just thought we were really unlucky. I think we definitely had the opportunities – we just didn’t finish them like we did two weeks ago.”
It was Shana Hudson who provided the Gators with the decisive finish. She was wide on the right when she received the ball from Stacy Bishop located at the top of the 18-yard box. She took a touch before delivering the low, hard shot that scored from 17-yards at the far post. The goal, her third of the season, is the first golden goal of her four collegiate goals.
“I had a lot of open space around me. Stacy (Bishop) saw me and played me a really good ball. I just took a touch and hit it,” Shana Hudson said. “It might have hit another player, but it went in and that’s all that matters.”
The win sends Florida to its 11th SEC Tournament final in the program’s
13-year history. Although the team leads the league with seven tournament titles, none of those crowns were earned in the three previous years the tournament was held at the Orange Beach SportsPlex. Florida last won the SEC title in 2004 with a 2-1 2OT win over Tennessee in Auburn, Ala.
Next up, the Gators meet Georgia in Sunday’s SEC Tournament championship match. The Bulldogs advanced to the program’s second SEC Tournament final with a 2-0 semifinal win over South Carolina. Florida opened the
2007 SEC season with a 2-1 loss at Georgia on Sept. 28 – the first loss for Florida in the all-time 18-match series between the two teams. Match time is set for 3:30 p.m (ET) at the Orange Beach SportsPlex. The match will air live on FSN-Florida (Cox Cable 70 in Gainesville/Ocala). Live, streaming video of Sunday’s match is also available on GatorVision. For more information, go to the official website of the Florida Gators – http://www.GatorZone.com – for more information about GatorVision. Match statistics plus streaming audio of Florida’s match Sunday can also be found on http://www.GatorZone.com.