Oct. 25, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina (6-9-4, 3-7-3 SEC) fell to Florida (14-4-1, 11-2-0 SEC) 3-0 on Thursday night at Stone Stadium. Seniors Dani Henry and Darien Vercillo were recognized before the match in Senior Night festivities.
"Florida deserved to win the championship. They came out and were difficult to defend and break down. We did a good job not to give them good opportunities for much of the game. When they got one, it changed the look of the game," said South Carolina head coach Shelley Smith.
Junior forward Gabrielle Gilbert led South Carolina with two shots in the match, one coming on goal. Three freshmen recorded shots for the Gamecocks: midfielder Stevi Parker, forward Coryn Bajema and defender Caroline Gray. Senior goalkeeper Darien Vercillo got the start in net, but sophomore Sabrina D'Angelo handled the bulk of the duty, notching three saves.
Sophomore midfielder Annie Speese paced the Gators converting two shots into two goals. Adriana Leon took four shots and registered Florida's other goal of the night. Sophomore Taylor Burke collected the shutout in net.
The Gamecocks drew the first opportunity in the match when Parker sent a shot high from over 25 yards out in the eighth minute. Florida midfielder Havana Solaun quickly responded for Florida in the 10th minute, getting a shot on frame that sent D'Angelo diving to her left to keep the game scoreless.
South Carolina held Florida at bay when the Gators fired off two quick shots in the 17th and 18th minute in a sequence that started with a strong cross into the box. D'Angelo was able to get a hand on it, but Erika Tymrak was able to find the ball and get a shot off which a defender blocked. Adriana Leon had the next chance, but pushed the ball wide left.
Florida's best scoring chance of the first half came in the 24th minute when McKenzie Barney fired a shot from just outside of the six-yard box. D'Angelo again hit the ground to keep the Gators from scoring.
After neither the Gamecocks nor the Gators were able to get a shot off in the final 17 minutes of the first half, the pace of the second half picked up, with both teams being more aggressive in creating chances on offense.
Florida broke the 0-0 score in the 65th minute when Tymrak found Leon with a cross just outside the six-yard box, and Leon sent the ball to the back of the net from eight yards out to give the Gators a 1-0 lead.
In the 74th minute, Florida increased their lead to 2-0. Speese was able to get her foot on a loose ball that was bouncing around in the six-yard box after a Gator corner kick.
Gilbert tried to close the gap for the Gamecocks in the 79th minute, strongly sending in header in on goal, but Florida's Burke corralled it to save the Gators' 2-0 advantage.
Speese struck again in the 87th minute, putting in a ball that forward Tessa Andujar sent inside the box to put the game away for Florida.
South Carolina must await the outcomes of the Georgia at Tennessee, Alabama at Auburn and Vanderbilt at Kentucky games to determine the fate of its bid for the SEC Tournament, which begins Monday in Orange Beach, Ala.
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