ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Top-seeded Arkansas Soccer (16-2-2, 8-1-1) downed the Florida Gators (11-8-1, 6-3-1) on Thursday night in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, 3-1. SEC Freshman of the Year Anna Podojil netted two goals in the second half to put Arkansas through to its fourth-straight SEC title game. The Razorbacks will be looking for their first tournament title in six appearances in program history when they face the winner of South Carolina and Vanderbilt on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
How It Happened
>> A Cara Young corner bounced around in the box that Stefani Doyle was able to put above the outstretched arms of the Gator goalie for a goal in the 41st-minute.
>> In the 59th-minute, Podojil gathered in a pass from Tori Cannata and put a strike off the crossbar for the 2-0 Razorback lead.
>> Vanessa Kara was able to put a penalty-kick in to cut Arkansas’ lead to 2-1 in the 63rd-minute.
>> Off a mis-hit by the Gators in their defending half, Anna Podojil picked up the loose ball in the 78th-minute and put a bouncer off the Florida ‘keeper for her second goal of the game.
The Run of Play
The Gators had a decent look on goal but a shot in the ninth-minute went wide left. The two squads would trade possession over the next 10 minutes before Taylor Malham sent a cross through the box in the 26th-minute, but the Hogs couldn’t get on the end of it.
Razorback ‘keeper Katie Lund made a big save in the 31st-minute when she went one-on-one with Kouri Peace, deflecting her shot away from goal. The Razorbacks would gain a 1-0 lead just before the half off the boot of Doyle.
The Razorbacks countered in the 59th-minute that allowed Podojil to put a ball to the back of the net, but Florida quickly answered with a penalty-kick to trim the Razorback lead to back to one.
Podojil and Kaelee Van Gundy put pressure on the Gator defensive line in the 78th-minute, forcing a mis-hit as Podojil was able to put a ball past the Florida goalie for the two-goal advantage. The Razorbacks held out for the final 12 minutes to advance to the final.
Hear It From Coach Hale
“Really proud of this team. What a gritty performance. We will need to clean some things up for the final, but we will be ready.”
The Razorbacks will face South Carolina or Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament championship game on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. CT, marking Arkansas’ fourth-straight appearance in the title game. The match will be televised on SEC Network.