ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – As they have done all season, Tahnai Annis and McKenzie Barney rescued the No. 7 Florida soccer team when things were looking bleak against No. 8 seed Vanderbilt on the opening day of the SEC Women’s Tournament at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.
Annis scored her second goal of the evening at 84:29 and Barney then added her second goal of the match at 86:20 to break a 3-3 deadlock and send the top-seeded Gators to a 5-3 victory Thursday night and into Friday’s semifinals to play No. 4 seed Georgia, a 2-1 double-overtime winner over No. 5 Auburn in the last of the four matches in the tournament that was pushed off a day by rain.
The first two matches of the day also went into overtime and one of them into a penalty-kick shootout. No. 2 South Carolina and Kentucky battled through two overtimes to a 1-1 draw, but the Gamecocks advanced with a 3-2 win in the shootout. South Carolina will play No. 6 Louisiana State, which scored a 1-0 overtime victory over No. 3 Tennessee, at 6 p.m. ET at the SportsPlex. The Gators-Bulldogs match follows at 8:30 p.m. Friday’s two winners will meet Sunday afternoon at 3 on ESPNU for the tournament title and automatic tournament berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The match was the hard-fought battle that Florida head coach Becky Burleigh anticipated.
“I knew that Vanderbilt was going to play like they had nothing to lose because they didn’t,” Burleigh said. “They needed this game to go on to the NCAA Tournament and they played hard. I give a lot of credit to Vanderbilt for the fight they showed tonight. But I really like the relentlessness that our team showed in scoring those final two goals to go up 5-3. That was big. I think a lot of teams would have folded under those circumstances but ours just seemed to get stronger.”
Florida (16-2-2) took a 1-0 lead into the intermission. Annis scored the goal, her 11th, when she headed home Lindsay Thompson’s crossing pass in the 27th minute of the first half.
“I knew once Lindsay got it out on the flank, she was going to be looking for the cross,” Annis said. “I got in the box , then I was screaming her name because I knew she would find me and she did. I knew once she hit it, I was going to score.”
Barney made it 2-0 four minutes into the second half with her 11th goal of the season. Jazmyne Avant sent the ball into a scrum in front of the Vanderbilt goal and Barney was able to get a foot on the ball to redirect it behind goalkeeper Rachel Bachtel.
“Jazmyne sent a great ball in,” Barney said. “I hit it right to the keeper and she fumbled it a little so I got lucky on the poke in.”
Vanderbilt (8-10-2) made it 2-1 when Candace West beat Florida goaltender Katie Fraine from inside the six-yard box in the 50th minute. But Florida made it a 3-1 lead just over three minutes later when Erika Tymrak escaped her marker, created some space and fired from 16 yards out. The ball hit the right post and kicked in at 52:21, giving Tymrak a career-high six goals on the season.
But Vanderbilt’s twin sisters Molly and Megan Kinsella got the Commodores even. First, Megan centered the ball to Molly, who drilled home a 12-yard shot at 74:28. Megan then tied the game in the 83rd minute with an 18-yard shot.
But Annis regained the momentum for Florida with her 12th goal of the season, taking a cross from Taylor Travis and burying the ball into the netting from six yards out in the 83rd minute. The assist was Travis’ team-leading 11th of the season.
“I knew once Taylor got it out on the flank, she always finds me in the box. I needed to wait a bit and I told Mac (McKenzie Barney) to go near post so to disrupt the keeper and take her defender with her,” Annis said. “When the ball came it, it was kind of like a sitter for me so I just needed to focus and finish the ball.”
Barney’s 12th goal of the season came just under two minutes later with an assist from Erika Tymrak.
“Erika sent an amazing ball in,” Barney said. “We work on that in practice and she knows exactly where I am. She played that ball and I knew I had time because Tahnai (Annis) was on my left side and she’s telling me ‘You’ve got time. Take a touch. Shoot it!’ So she was my eyes, I guess. I shot it and found the back post.”
And Florida found itself in the semifinals.
No. 1 FLORIDA 5, No. 8 VANDERBILT 3
Orange Beach, Ala. / Orange Beach Sportsplex / Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 quarterfinals
Scoring 1 2—Final
Vanderbilt 0 3—3
Florida 1 4—5
UF: Tahnai Annis (Lindsay Thompson) 26:41
UF: McKenzie Barney (Jazmyne Avant) 48:59
VU: Candace West (Molly Kinsella) 49:16
UF: Erika Tymrak (unassisted) 52:21
VU: Molly Kinsella (Megan Kinsella) 74:28
VU: Megan Kinsella (unassisted) 82:53
UF: Annis (Taylor Travis) 84:29
UF: Barney (Tymrak) 86:20
Goalies Min Svs G
Rachel Bachtel (VU) 90:00 2 5
Katie Fraine (UF) 90:00 3 3
Statistics VU UF
Shots 12 15
Shots on goal 6 7
Saves 2 3
Corner kicks 2 1
Fouls 7 8
Offside 0 0
Cautions: Carolina Triglia (UF) 71:54 (yellow).
No. 4 Georgia 2, No. 5 Auburn 1: Defender Bailey Powell scored off a corner kick with 4:14 remaining in double overtime to avenge the Bulldogs’ 2-1 loss to Auburn 10 days ago in Athens.
The Bulldogs (11-5-4) got behind 1-0 just 15 minutes into the match when Katy Frierson of Auburn (11-7-2) gathered in a shot that bounced off a defender and put it past keeper Ashley Baker.
Georgia got the equalizer in the 67th minute after Auburn committed a foul in the 18 that gave the Bulldogs an indirect kick. Senior defender Kelli Corless took the shot. The set piece set up Corless for a second-chance pass that she sent to Traci Dreesen in the middle. Dreesen fired the shot that beat Amy Howard.
It remained 1-1 into the 106th minute of the match when Alexa Newfield took a corner kicker that Powell ran on and headed past Howard.
No. 2 South Carolina 1, No. 7 Kentucky 1 (2OT) (South Carolina wins on penalty kicks, 3-2): Senior Brooke Jacobs scored in regulation and SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kayla Grimsley buried the final shot of a penalty-kick shootout to help the Gamecocks (14-4-3) overcome Kentucky (10-7-3).
Jacobs put Carolina ahead in just the 10th minute (9:39) of the match off assists by Kayla Grimsley and Danielle Au. Grimsley passed inside the box to Au, who centered it for Jacobs who took a one-touch into the upper corner. The goal was the first for Jacobs since her hamstring injury against Alabama, and also gave Grimsley her 10th assist of the season that allowed her to become the first Gamecock to join the 10-goal, 10-assist, 30-point club.
But Kentucky tied the match at 84:17 when Alyssa Telang’s corner kick curled into the net with the help of the heavy winds.
In the penalty kick shootout, Kentucky missed its first two attempts by sailing the first shot (by Caitlin Landis) high and having the second (by Natalie Horner) saved by South Carolina goalkeeper Mollie Patton. Following conversions by Jacobs and Kelsey Barr on Georgia’s second and third shots, Grimsley ended the match when she scored on Georgia’s fifth shot.
No. 6 Louisiana State 1, No. 3 Tennessee 0: With just over two minutes to play in the first overtime period, LSU striker Addie Eggleston buried the game-winning goal to lead the No. 6-seeded Tigers (8-8-4) over Tennessee (10-9-1) and into the semifinals.
Eggleston, a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2010, scored her first goal since a two-goal effort against South Alabama on Aug. 22 while taking over the team lead with 13 points on the season.
Freshman goalkeeper Megan Kinneman led the defensive effort as the Tigers posted their ninth shutout of the season with Thursday’s 1-0 win. Kinneman, also a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team, stopped a total of four Tennessee shots to earn her sixth clean sheet of the campaign.
SEC WOMEN’S SOCCER TOURNAMENT
Orange Beach, Ala. / Orange Park SportsPlex / Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 / First round
No. 2 South Carolina 1, No. 7 Kentucky 1 (2OT); South Carolina wins 3-2 on penalty kicks
No. 6 Louisiana State 1, No. 3 Tennessee 0 (OT)
No. 1 Florida 5, No. 8 Vanderbilt 3
No. 4 Georgia 2, No. 5 Auburn 1 (OT)
Friday, Nov. 5 / Semifinals
No. 2 South Carolina vs. No. 6 Louisiana State, 6 p.m.
No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 Georgia, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 7 / Championship
Friday’s semifinal winners, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)