Florida soccer is still in the SEC Tournament after topping Auburn with penalty kicks. This is the second time in as many years that the Gators beat Auburn to advance. The team is now riding a 2-game winning streak heading into the next match against top-seed Vanderbilt.
Florida kicked off the night with a score when Madison Alexander connected with the net in the 20th minute. Alexander’s goal was a penalty kick. Star goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese did not let the Tigers score in the first half, giving the Gators extra motivation.
However, not all was good for Florida. Senior Sarah Troccoli was thrown out of the game after a red card. Because of that, the team was one woman down for the rest of the night. With 16 minutes left in the match, Auburn’s Taylor Troutman tied up the score. Neither team made another goal in regulation, the first overtime, or the second overtime.
In the regular season, that means the team draws. But, in tournament play, the Tigers and the Gators headed to penalty kicks. Surprisingly, Marckese was the first Florida player at goal… and made it. Auburn missed its first attempt. Both teams missed the second attempt when Gators’ Georgia Eaton-Collins missed the kick. But, Tess Sapone quickly got Florida back on track. Madison Alexander missed the next kick, but Auburn slid one past Marckese. Auburn missed the fifth kick and the Gators move on!
Kaylan Marckese made a sick save on the last kick… relive the moment here.
Moving on was not the only piece of good news today. In addition, senior midfielder Lais Araujo cracked the All-SEC First Team. Araujo leads the Gators in both goals (5) and points (12).
Araujo got the ball rolling for Florida many times this year. She logged the quickest hat trick in school history (>18 minutes) and the first since 2015 in the 6-0 win over Kentucky. Also, she snapped a seven-game scoring drought in the 78th minute against Vanderbilt.
Araujo was the only Gator to be on any all-conference accolade list.
The win over Auburn means the Gators move on to face top-seed Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt ended 8-1-1 in the conference, while the Gators were 4-5-2 in the SEC. The Commodores high seed allowed them to bypass the first round, meaning they’ll go in better rested. The last time these two teams met, Vandy won 2-1 in Gainesville. But, the goal was the Gators’ first in seven games. Catch this match Tuesday at 6 p.m. on SECN.