AU Soccer Team Advances To SEC Finals

Baton Rouge, La.-The sixth-seeded Auburn women's soccer team defeated seventh-seeded Ole Miss 2-1 Friday at the LSU Soccer Complex to advance to the SEC Championship match.

The Tigers improved to 11-6-1 and will take on top-seeded Florida on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The Gators advanced to their sixth-consecutive SEC championship match with a 3-1 victory over Kentucky.

The Rebels took an early 1-0 lead just 10 minutes into the match when Anna Sanders scored on a crossing pass from teammate Tiffany Weiss. Auburn answered quickly by evening the match when sophomore Erin Hinson tapped in a loose ball off Kellie Evans' indirect kick in the 16th minute. Evans' assist was her team-leading seventh of the season.

Neither team scored again in the first half as they went to intermission tied at one. "At halftime we really just talked to the players about how they wanted to finish this season," third-year Auburn Coach Karen Richter said. "Did they want it to end like the way we were playing the first half of the season or did they want it to end playing our best? They responded by coming out and showing what this team is made of and the character of this team."

The Tigers took the lead for good just two minutes into the second half when freshman Michelle Mione scored her third goal of the season. The assist on Mione's 10-yard shot over Rebel goalie Brittany Gillespie's head came from senior Ginger Sellick.

"This was an unbelievable performance," Richter added. "This team keeps finding ways to win in tough pressure situations. This was another come-from-behind victory for us. For this young team to come back against Mississippi is a sign of this team's character."

Auburn's defense tightened and held Ole Miss to just three second half shots. For the game, the Tigers outshot the Rebels 20-9. Freshman goalie Megan Rivera, who was named the SEC Freshman of the Year prior to the tournament, had to make just three saves to preserve the Tigers' victory.

"This is an amazing feeling," Rivera said. "This team has shown a lot of heart to be able to come back and beat two teams we lost to earlier this season. This entire team played awesome and stuck it out all the way until the end."

With the win, it marked just the second-time in school history that the Tigers advanced to the tournament championship match. They were the runner-up to Kentucky in 1994.

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