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Near upset of No. 8 Florida

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Near upset of No. 8 Florida

FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas led No. 8 Florida for more than 76 minutes and then took the Gators into overtime in Southeastern Conference soccer action on Friday, but allowed a goal less than two minutes into the extra period for a 2-1 loss at Razorback Field.

Allie Chandler’s goal just three minutes into the game looked like it could be the game-winner until the 80th minute when Brooke Thigpen scored off an assist from Jo Dragotta.

Arkansas held off a few more attacks by Florida and forced the game to overtime, but just 1:35 into the extra period, Havana Solaun ended it with her game-winner.

Florida improved to 14-4-0 overall and 7-2-0 in the SEC while Arkansas is now 4-12-0 and 2-7-0.

"We came out with a game plan and executed really well," head coach Erin Aubry said. "We can only grow from this."

Arkansas took just one shot in the first half, but it was a good one and the Razorbacks made it count.

Following a corner by Florida on the other end, the Razorbacks pushed the ball downfield. Beth Stratton passed ahead to Chandler, who made a move to get around a pair of defenders. With another defender to her right, she took the ball to the left and from 30 yards out, fired a left-footer that hit the right post and rolled to the back of the net just three minutes into the game.

Meanwhile, Florida took 12 first-half shots with five on goal. At the 22:29 mark, Solaun took a line drive shot at the middle of the goal from about 20 yards out, but goal keeper Emily Lillard was there for the save. At 7:06, Taylor Travis got around the defense for a one-on-one with Lillard, but her shot from 20 yards away was wide right.

The Razorbacks were called for a pair of fouls just outside the 18, giving Florida free kicks from 20 yards both times, but the Gators didn’t get a good shot either time. With just more than two minutes left in the period, Solaun took a low line drive shot from 16 yards away, but Lillard again made the save.

In the second half, Arkansas got three more shots, one more by Chandler and two by Kaylyn Cooper.

Meanwhile, Florida added to its total with nine more.

Arkansas had a couple of chances, one coming after a Florida foul when Sam Wolf took the free kick from 40 yards out, but the Gators defended the pass into the box.

"We had a good performance and the competiveness was there," Aubry said. "It all played out well tonight. It definitely gives us confidence for our last two SEC games."

Florida had 23 shots with 11 on goal while Arkansas had four with two on goal.

Chandler and Cooper each had two shots for the Razorbacks.

Solaun had five shots for the Gators with three on goal and one score. Erika Tymrak had three shots with two on goal, and five other Gators had two shots each.

Lillard finished with nine saves in goal for the Razorbacks.

"The bottom line is, the team had a lot of fun and we gained a lot of confidence," Aubry said.

The Razorbacks go on the road this weekend, traveling to South Carolina for Sunday’s noon game against the Gamecocks in Columbia. USC is receiving votes in the Soccer Times poll and is rated No. 39 in the RPI rankings.

Download: ark, florida box.pdf



Sports Category : Soccer (W)