FINAL: FLORIDA 1, VANDERBILT 0
ORANGE BEACH, AL- The Gators soccer team has advanced to the SEC Tournament semi-finals after narrowly defeating #1 seed Vanderbilt, 1-0. The Commodores (15-3-1) entered the game having only lost two games all season, but had lost their most recent contest at Ole Miss. The Gators (7-9-4) struck early and hung on, largely thanks to the superb play of senior goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese.
Florida scored early when Madison Alexander flicked a touch over the reach of Vanderbilt GK Lauren Demarchi who had cheated out to cut down the angle. Alexander’s goal was assisted by Lais Araujo and Mayra Pelayo.
The Commodores’ Grace Jackson had an opportunity in the 42nd minute but was turned away by a spectacular save by Marckese.
Marckese was called on again early in the second half when Vanderbilt’s Kaylann Boyd teed one up after a corner and Marckese made a strong save, standing tall in the net
Jackson had another opportunity in the 68th minute, but Marckese slid over and punched the ball over the net for a Vandy corner.
Florida completed the upset with Marckese holding the ball after a last second effort by Vanderbilt went awry.
Marckese made three saves in the shootout and also scored on Florida’s first attempt to lead the Gators to the dramatic victory.
- This is the second time this season that Alexander has scored in consecutive games, and her sixth goal of the season gives her sole possession of the team lead.
- Despite making only four official saves, Marckese played an important role in preserving the win as each save rated a high difficulty.
- Marckese recorded her 29th career shutout, adding to her program record that was set in Florida’s final home match (on senior day).
- Sammie Betters picked up a yellow card late in the second half and was substituted out shortly after.
- The Gators played without senior captain Sarah Troccoli due to her ejection from the previous match for a red card.
Florida will face the winner of the 4-5 matchup that took place immediately after their match. Ole Miss faces Arkansas in that contest. The Gators defeated Arkansas (11-4-3) 3-0 in perhaps their most complete game in the regular season finale, but did not face the Rebels (12-6-1) in regular season play.