Sept. 9, 2007
Gainesville, Fla. – No. 14 Florida (3-1-0) broke a 1-1 tie with a goal by KeLeigh Hudson in the 84th minute as the Gators snapped a two game losing streak to No. 9 Florida State (2-2-0) with a 2-1 victory over the Seminoles Sunday afternoon at James G. Pressly Stadium. Junior Mami Yamaguchi scored the equalizer for the Seminoles in the 62nd minute, good for her team leading fifth goal of the season. But it wasn’t enough as the Gators defeated the Seminoles in Gainesville for the first time since taking a 2-0 decision on September 5, 2003.
Yamaguchi led all FSU players with four shots on Sunday afternoon. Her goal at 61:19 in the second half was her fifth of the season. She is just one shy of tying last year’s goal output of six. The Tokyo, Japan native has now scored a goal in three straight games as she capped off a great week for the Seminoles with five goals and three assists.
“It was a good game,” said head coach Mark Krikorian. “Both team fought hard and both teams had their chances to win the game; credit Florida for finding a way to win. We knew that the Gators were a very worthy opponent coming in to today’s game. They have a lot of experienced kids and it’s a good team. I am quite happy with our group still the same. We had five freshmen playing a lot of minutes, but what I know is that our learning curve is good. We are going to be a whole lot better by the end of the season. We are going to keep working and growing and learning our lessons along the way.”
FSU goalkeeper Erin McNulty was solid in net for the Seminoles as she made a career-high seven saves in just her fourth career start.
The Gators outshot FSU 16-11 in the game including a 10-5 advantage in the second half. Both teams took five corner kicks in the game.
“It was a good game. Both team fought hard and both teams had their chances to win the game. And credit Florida for finding a way to win. We knew that the Gators were a very worthy opponent coming in to today’s game. They have a lot of experienced kids and it’s a good team. I am quite happy with our group still the same. We had five freshmen playing awful lot of minutes, but what I know is that our learning curve is good. We are going to be a whole lot better by the end of the season. We are going to keep working and growing and learning our lessons along the way.
“This is a game you always want to win, especially against your rival, but unfortunately we couldn’t pull it out today,” explained Kirsten van de Ven. “We started a little sloppy, but picked it up a little in the second half.”
Florida State nearly countered with a goal in the fourth minute of action as Kirsten van de Ven created a Gator turnover at midfield. Van de Ven found Amanda DaCosta as she flew passed the center of the UF defense and directed a shot just wide of the left post.
The Gators quickly countered on the very next position as Stacy Bishop sent Florida’s first shot on goal which was easily handled by freshman keeper Erin McNulty.
Florida got on the board first with a goal in the 15th minute off a header shot from five yards out by Ashley Harris. Harris found a crossing pass from the right side of the pitch by Shana Hudson and went to the upper left corner for her third goal of the season. Ashlee Elliott was also credited with an assist on the play.
In the 28th minute, Yamaguchi took a quick kick from 26 yards out and went high over the crossbar for her first shot of the afternoon.
Florida State was called for a questionable foul just outside the box at the 30:10 mark in the first half. Katrin Schmidt and UF’s Ashley Harris got tangled up setting up a free kick for the Gators from 19 yards out. But the call would go unharmed as the kick went off the Seminole wall.
Both teams tallied six shots at the end of the first half with Yamaguchi leading the way for the Seminoles with three. FSU held the corner kick advantage at 3-2.
Florida State came out of the locker room and quickly put the offensive pressure on the Gators with two shots in the first five minutes. The best opportunity for the Seminoles came on a free kick in the 48th minute. Becky Edwards sent a kick into the box where DaCosta was there to redirect a header shot towards the net. Gator keeper Katie Fraine misjudged the ball and Sarah Wagenfuhr was there ripping a shot that deflected off a Florida defender.
“During the first half, we weren’t ourselves,” said van de Ven. “We thought we could have played at a higher level and we did a little bit more in the second half. But we didn’t press enough to get more goals. I mean credit to the Gators.”
Sanna Talonen got a great scoring in the 56th minute as van de Ven sent a through ball into the box where Talonen was streaking towards the net from the left side. The freshman from Tampere, Finland one-timed a shot that went just wide of the left post.
The Seminoles evened the score at one in the 62nd minute. FSU was awarded a free kick on the right side of the pitch from about 22 yards out. Yamaguchi took the kick and bent a shot into the upper right corner for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
“We felt at halftime that we had enough chances in the first half that we probably could have scored a goal,” added Krikorian. “We also knew that if we kept pressing that our chances were going to come and then Mami struck a great set piece. But again I thought our intensity was good and our focus was good.”
Harris gave Florida its best scoring chance of the second half in the 69th minute as she fired a cross from the right side where McNulty made a diving save. The Gators’ Elliott got to the loose ball and directed the ball on goal but McNulty was there again with another tremendous save to keep the score tied at one.
The Gators opened up their offensive attack with three good looks in a span of two minutes. Megan Kerns and KeLeigh Hudson registered a shot on goal as both balls were saved cleanly by McNulty. Karly Findorff nearly gave the Gators the lead for the second time in the game but her header shot went off the crossbar and was cleared out of harms way by the Seminole defense.
Florida regained the lead for good in the 84th minute on Hudson’s second goal of the season. Shelley Lyle and Findorff picked up the assist on the play. Hudson, streaking down the left side of the pitch, found the lower right corner of the net for the game-winner.
Florida State will return to the pitch on Wednesday, September 12 as the Seminoles return home to face the Troy Trojans at the Seminole Soccer Complex at 7:00 pm. Fans can follow all the action over the Internet. Gametracker will be available for the contest along with a live broadcast of the game on ACC Select.