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Florida's Kaylan Marckese blocks an incoming shot against South Carolina in the SEC Tournament. November 4, 2016. Photo by Eric Glemser.

Florida Defeats South Carolina in SEC Tournament

The Florida soccer team played South Carolina in the SEC Tournament semifinals Friday night and won. The Gators handed the Gamecocks their first loss of the season with a final score of 1-0. Now, Florida will face Arkansas in the SEC Championship game on Sunday.

The lone goal of the match came in the 19th minute and was made by senior Savannah Jordan for her 14th goal of the season. Before the goal, Meggie Dougherty Howard passed the ball to Mayra Pelayo who was waiting wide outside the box. Pelayo shot the ball which hit the cross bar and went straight to Jordan who headed the ball in for the goal. Both Pelayo and Dougherty Howard were awarded with an assist.

Florida goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese had a great match with three recorded saves. South Carolina had multiple opportunities to even the match including seven corner kicks, but the Florida defense was able to step up to give the Gators their eighth shutout of the season. Despite many injuries to Florida’s back line, each defender was able to do her job and keep from giving up costly penalties.

The Gators will now play in the championship game Sunday afternoon. This will be their 17th appearance in the title game in 22 seasons. Florida is the defending champion and with a win this weekend it would be their 12th SEC Tournament title.

The Final

Their opponent will be the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas defeated Auburn in the semifinals 3-1 on Friday night. The Razorbacks have a deep roster that includes five different players that have scored at least six goals on the season. Earlier this season, Florida lost to the Razorbacks in Arkansas 2-1 which was delayed for about two hours due to lightning and heavy rains. Since that match, the Gators have hit their stride and are a new team that has learned from their past losses and is now making the most of their time in the playoffs.

The SEC Championship match will be Sunday at 4 p.m. in Orange Beach, Alabama. It will air on ESPNU.

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