Gator Soccer Defeats Texas A&M, Grabs Share of SEC Lead
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Two second half goals from freshman Savannah Jordan<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/Jordan_Savannah.php> gave the Florida soccer team a 2-0 win over Texas A&M Sunday afternoon in front of a 1,441 fans at the James G. Pressly Stadium.
With the win, the Gators now are tied for first in the Southeastern Conference standings with Texas A&M as each own league records of 8-2. Final day for SEC play is Thursday. Florida will play at Georgia and Texas A&M plays host to LSU. Each team will be looking for a win to ensure at least a share of the 2013 SEC title. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a tie.
The Gators' first goal Sunday started when freshman Meggie Dougherty Howard<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/Dougherty-Howard.php>'s pass from just inside midfield found Jordan making a run down the middle of the field. Jordan took a touch to send the ball forward and she fought off her defender to take a shot just inside the box. Texas A&M goalkeeper Jordan Day stopped the shot, but the deflection bounced free in the box. Jordan won the footrace with three Aggie defenders and her shot deflected off an Aggie to bang into the goal.
Florida's second goal started at the top of the Gators' defensive third when junior Tessa Andujar<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/andujar_tessa.php> and sophomore Christen Westphal<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/westphal_christen.php> doubled an Aggie with the ball near the touchline. Westphal won the ball and took it down the field to the top of the Aggie defensive third. The ball she played into space was run onto by Jordan and her 14-yard shot scored at the far post.
It was Jordan's 18th goal of the season - the most for UF since Abby Wambach<http://www.gatorzone.com/soccer/bios.php?year=2001&bio=wambach.html> scored 31 as a senior in 2001.
GATOR PERFORMANCE NOTES:
* Jordan now has six multi-goal matches - scoring twice versus Texas A&M, LSU, Alabama, Minnesota and Florida Gulf Coast and posting a hat-trick versus Oregon State.
* Taylor Burke<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/burke_taylor.php> recorded her seventh solo shutout of the season, moving her career total of solo shutouts to 22 (third all-time for the Gators)
* Westphal's assist on Jordan's second goal was the second of her career and her first of 2013
RECORDS: Florida (14-3-1, 8-2 SEC); Texas A&M (13-4-1, 8-2 SEC).
THE SERIES: The all-time series between Florida and Texas A&M is now tied at 4-4.
How did the Gators perform today against a very good Texas A&M team?
"I thought the first half we got a little bit out of rhythm and we were falling into their game plan, which wasn't good for us. We talked at halftime about just trusting the way we plan and really executing and I thought in the second half we did a much better job. That's what created a lot of the opportunities we had." - Florida coach Becky Burleigh
Can you take me through the counter when Westphal got it to Jordan?
"That was a great ball by Christen. She had been hitting some of those good balls all game and we had gotten behind them a couple of times. One of the things that Texas A&M does is their line in the back is a little bit high and she recognized that and played Savannah through. It was a great ball." - Florida coach Becky Burleigh
Talk about the midfield:
"I think it was really crowded in the midfield in this game because they were playing a 3-5-2 and I thought we dealt with that a lot better in the second half. We created a little bit of space for ourselves and we sort of got beyond the ball. It was a much better performance in the second overall for us. But credit to Texas A&M for taking us away from our game in the first half." - Florida coach Becky Burleigh
On the Gator defense:
"It's a team thing, starting with our forwards defending. I thought Friday night we weren't quite as good defensively and so I kind of challenged them in this game for that front group to defend a little better. I thought they did that very well today." - Florida coach Becky Burleigh
On the shutout win:
"It was great to get a shutout. I always have to give credit to my defense obviously - couldn't do that without them. They played great today and I think it was good too, in the second half, that we were able to gain a little bit of rhythm and score two goals." - junior goalkeeper Taylor Burke
On handling the pressure of Texas A&M's offense:
"Their movement was really challenging for our back line. Texas A&M is a great team and we were definitely working hard communicating back there, just trying to keep ourselves organized." - junior goalkeeper Taylor Burke
On getting the win today:
"Well we knew it was a big game. Our team knew. I think we got up for it and defended really well in the first half to hold them off when they had a lot of good chances. Then we talked about what we needed to change at halftime. We came out really strong and I'm proud of the way we played." - freshman forward Savannah Jordan
On her first goal:
"It was really exciting. I took a shot first. The keeper made a great save, and then I just continued my run and followed it. It wasn't the prettiest goal, but it went in. So I'm happy." - freshman forward Savannah Jordan
On Christen Westphal's assist on her second goal:
"It was great defending by Tessa (Andujar) and Christen (Westphal). They double downed on the girl and got the ball. Christen's great at bringing the ball forward so I kind of got out and she looked up. We made eye contact and she played a great ball. I made my run across and had a good finish." - freshman forward Savannah Jordan
On the play that led to Savannah Jordan's second goal:
"It was an awesome double with me and Tessa (Andujar) and we happened to get the ball. I just saw a bunch of free space so I just went for it. It was really tiring, but it was awesome." - sophomore defender Christen Westphal
On the pressure that Texas A&M put on the back line:
"It was definitely difficult. They came a lot harder than most teams. Once we got used to it after the first half, we settled and calmed down. I think we handled it pretty well." - sophomore defender Christen Westphal
This was Florida's first home win over Texas A&M as the Gators' other three wins all came away from Gainesville...the shutout was the 11th of the season for the Gators and the team's sixth consecutive...it was the fourth time the Aggies were shutout in 2013 and first in nine matches...Texas A&M entered the match on an eight-match win streak...Burke turned in a season-high five saves Sunday...this was the fourth consecutive match a Gator has turned in a pair of goals as junior Havana Solaun<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/solaun_havana.php> scored twice at Tennessee on Friday, sophomore Lauren Smith<http://www.gatorzone.com/guides/soccer/pages/season_info/player_bios/smith_lauren.php> scored twice versus Kentucky on Oct. 18 and Jordan scored a pair of goals versus LSU on Oct. 20...in 2013, three Gators have turned in a total of nine multi-goal matches (Jordan - 6, Solaun - 2, Lauren Smith 1).
Florida is ranked No. 7 on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)<http://www.nscaatv.com/rankings/2639/NCAADivisionI/women/National/Poll9> poll and Texas A&M is No. 20 by College Sports Madness<http://www.collegesportsmadness.com/womens-soccer/top-25-rankings>.
The Gators head to Athens, Ga., to face Georgia (12-5-1, 5-4-1 SEC) for the regular season finale on Thursday, Oct. 31. Match time is set for 6:30 p.m. ET at the UGA Soccer Stadium/Turner Soccer Complex<http://www.georgiadogs.com/facilities/turner-soccer-complex.html>. Georgia won 1-0 at Arkansas Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs currently stand tied for sixth in the SEC standings.
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