he Tigers improved their record to 11-7-1 by making it to the finals in the tournament and also improved their chances at receiving their first-ever bid into the NCAA Tournament.
"We put it all out on the line today," AU Coach Karen Richter said. "We had a shot to win it late and that's all you can ask for. We played really well today. I'm proud of the girls. Florida is a great team and they should be commended."
Both teams went scoreless until the 35th minute when Florida midfielder Andi Sellers put a 30-yard blast by a diving Megan Rivera into the upper-left corner of the goal. Sellers got the long range opportunity when AU defender Megan Stamm headed a ball right into her path.
Rivera and the Auburn defense kept the Tigers in the game like they have been accustomed to doing the entire season. AU's All-SEC goalie came up big, time after time when the Tigers needed a stop. Rivera, who was named SEC Freshman of the Year prior to the tournament, made six saves in the championship game.
"It is an amazing feeling to play Florida in the finals," Rivera said. "This team has shown a lot of heart and coming back and (getting) revenge against two teams we lost to in the regular season...This team, altogether, played awesome. We showed a lot of heart and stuck it out."
Auburn had its chances to tie the game. The best chance came just three minutes after the Gators' first goal. After a Florida foul, Stamm sent a penalty kick high into the goalie box from 35-yards out that Florida keeper Jennifer Kellgren overan. AU midfielder Sandra Carnes had nothing but green grass between her and the goal, but put her shot off the top of the crossbar leaving Auburn scoreless.
The score remained 1-0 into the second half when speedy UF forward Crystal Frimpong got deep into Tiger territory and sent a crossing pass into the goalie box that was deflected by Stamm and rolled past an unexpecting Rivera for the Gators' second goal. Frimpong's goal came in the 47th minute and proved to be the game-winner.
Auburn got its goal in the 72nd minute when forward Tammy Waine was fouled by Kellgren on a breakaway. Richter gave Carnes a chance for redemption and she put the penalty kick into the side of the net making the score 2-1. The Tigers had several chances in the final minutes, but could not get a solid shot on goal.
The announcement of the NCAA Tournament field will be made on Monday.