On a night where the Gators had over double the shots of their opposition, the result still did not seem unfair.
Florida, the No. 5 seed, lost 3-1 to the No. 1 seed Arkansas in the semifinals of the SEC tournament on Thursday.
The Razorbacks finished the chances that came their way and capitalized on Gator mistakes.
.@SEC ⚽️ Tournament semifinal I starts soon!
🐊⚽️ 🆚 No. 6 Arkansas
— Gators Soccer (@GatorsSoccer) November 7, 2019
Both teams came into this game on the back of one-goal victories in their initial tournament matches on Tuesday.
Although Arkansas had a bit more possession at the start of the game, Florida looked more dangerous.
In the 14th minute, winger Kit Loferski megged an Arkansas defender before feeding Vanessa Kara in the six yard box. Another quick one-two produced a Kara shot, but it was saved by Arkansas keeper and All-SEC Second teamer Katie Lund.
Kouri Peace, recently named to the All-SEC Freshman Team, also looked good for the Gators in the beginning of the first half. She took a couple chances unsuccessfully until Arkansas opened the scoring in the 41st minute.
Midfielder Stefani Doyle got on the end of a Razorback corner after the ball ran through the box. She did not make the best connection, but it was good enough to dink the ball over Susi Espinoza in goal and put Arknasas up 1-0.
This scoreline would remain going into halftime. The Gators registered eight shots by the break, compared to the Razorbacks’ two.
Arkansas did not wait long after play resumed to double their lead. In the 59th minute, freshman forward Anna Podojil, a member of the All-SEC First Team, curled a shot from the outside of the box beautifully to give Espinoza no chance of saving it.
Best rookie in the SEC. pic.twitter.com/BOr0AaEPJ3
— Razorback Soccer (@RazorbackSoccer) November 3, 2019
It was the Razorbacks’ second shot on target of the game, and their second goal.
Florida was given a lifeline just minutes later, though, when in the 63rd minute the ref ruled Podojil unfairly tackled Gator defender Sammie Betters in the Arkansas box.
Kara, who scored in Florida’s opener Tuesday, stepped up to the spot and converted the penalty, making the score 2-1.
The Gators again created more chances and again could not finish, and once again Arkansas took a two-goal lead, which is what happens when playing the best team in the conference.
In the 78th minute, Florida center back Georgia Eaton-Collins, under little pressure, passed the ball to Podojil while attempting to build play from the back. She took a dribble before striking from distance and a scrambling Espinoza fumbled the save into her own net, putting the Razorbacks up 3-1 and effectively ending Florida’s hopes of advancing. It was Podojil’s second of the night.
The Gators did not give up, but their remaining chances could not find the back of the goal. Florida ended the game with 20 shots, compared to Arkansas’ 9.
Wasting chances is an issue that plagued the Gators during the regular season, and it reared its ugly head again on Thursday.