The Georgia Bulldogs (7-6-4) gave Florida (10-7-1) a treat they won’t soon forget this Halloween, downing the Gators 1-0 on a last minute winner in Athens to wrap up the regular season for both squads.
This is the first time Georgia has defeated the Gators since 2008.
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The Bulldogs came into this game unbeaten in their last four. Despite their hot streak, Florida had all the momentum in the opening minutes.
The Gators bossed possession for the first 20 minutes and registered five shots, but most failed to threaten Georgia keeper and reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week Emory Wegener.
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The weather was a second opponent in this match, as the wind batted down some crosses early in the game and the cold attempted to pry its way through layers of clothing as players and coaches bundled up on the sidelines. As the game went on, the temperature kept dropping, eventually settling around just below 50 degrees.
The first half produced no goals for either side. Florida had the shot advantage over Georgia, six to three, but neither side looked particularly menacing.
The Gators came close to coughing up a goal at the 70 minute mark, when Vanessa Kara played a poor back pass to keeper Susi Espinoza. Georgia midfielder Dani Murguia diverted the ball towards the net with a sliding shot, but it went wide.
Cassidy Lindley and Parker Roberts chipped in with dangerous efforts for Florida shortly afterwards, but the breakthrough goal in the game would favor the Bulldogs.
In the 89th minute, a Florida turnover caused freshman forward Haley Sorrell to be alone in the box. Midfielder Abby Boyan picked her out and Sorrell slotted the ball into the Florida net, putting Georgia up 1-0.
At the final whistle, the Gators had 11 shots compared to Georgia’s eight. But, Sorrell’s goal will surely haunt the Florida squad, as the match concluded shortly afterwards with the Gators unable to conjure up a last-second miracle.
Florida falls to 6-3-1 in the SEC and will need a lot of help from other conference teams to win the SEC East title. However, the Gators still comfortably qualified for the SEC tournament that begins Sunday in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Florida will face No. 4 seed Texas A&M in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.