In the opening match of the SEC Tournament, the Gator soccer team (4-11-4, 3-6-1 SEC) tied the Vanderbilt Commodores (8-8-3, 5-4-1 SEC) 1-1 Sunday afternoon in Orange Beach, Alabama. The deciding factor to see which team would move on to the quarterfinals was penalty kicks, and Florida edged out Vanderbilt with a 4-3 penalty kicks advantage.
How it Happened
It was a slow start to the match as neither team scored until the 72nd minute. Vanderbilt midfielder and forward Madison Van Elwell hit a long strike to the upper slot to get the Commodores on the board first. However, Florida wasn’t going down without a fight. Florida forward Kit Loferski took a deep cross to the far post where forward Madison Alexander and Commodores midfielder Abi Brighton both fought for the ball. While it was originally called as Alexander’s goal in the 89th minute, upon further review the score was ruled as its own goal.
Both teams couldn’t produce any more goals the rest of regulation or in both overtimes. Penalty kicks would decide which team would move on to the quarterfinals.
Florida and Vanderbilt each scored on their first two penalty kicks. Brighton gave the Gators an opportunity, however, after she shot the the ball high. Gator midfielder Cameron Hall and forward Maddy Rhodes each made their shots to make it 4-3 in Florida’s favor. Vanderbilt’s final attempt was made by midfielder Amber Nguyen; however, the shot went wide. The Gators moved on in the SEC Tournament to the quarterfinals off of their 4-3 penalty kick advantage.
Florida continues its journey in the SEC Tournament Tuesday against the No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers at 1 p.m. The Volunteers are the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The two teams last met on Oct. 7 where the Volunteers beat the Gators 2-0. ESPN 98.1 FM – 850 AM WRUF will broadcast the Florida vs. Tennessee game beginning at 12:50 p.m.