Gators Win SEC Tournament Title

The Florida Gators take home the SEC Soccer Tournament title Sunday with a 2-1 win over Texas A&M.

Florida started out the game from behind when Texas A&M scored the first goal in the 22nd minute.

The Gators scored their two goals off of set plays in the first half.  In the 29th minute, Christen Westphal’s corner kick was headed by Savannah Jordan to Brooke Sharp.  Sharp volleyed the ball off her right foot into the top of the net for her 11th goal of the season.

“Christen [Westphal] just crossed it in,” Sharp said.  “I was at the front post. Whenever it goes over me, my job is to frame the goal. The ball came right at me and I placed it in the upper 90.”

In the 43rd minute, Meggie Doughterty Howard was fouled outside the box giving the Gators a free kick.  Westphal took the kick and scored her second consecutive game-winning goal. 

“The foul we got today was identical to the one on Friday so it was great for us to get in that position again,” Dougherty Howard said.  “Christen hit an awesome free kick.”

With this win, the Gators continue to lead the league in both total SEC titles (14) and SEC Tournament titles (11). 

“This team has shown so much resilience throughout the year,” said head coach Becky Burleigh.  “Even though we went down 1-0 and weren't playing that well at the beginning, it was a testament to this group to bounce back again. What I really like was at midway through first half, we were able to turn the tide.”

Westphal was honored with the SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player award.  She is the 13th Gator to take home this title.

"It definitely feels awesome because every single member of our team played a huge role in why we are here,” Westphal said.  “We talked about it earlier how no one expected us to win the regular season and no one expected us to win the tournament as well. It feels great to accomplish both things. There are still things left we want to accomplish."

Florida is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation.

The Gators will now move on to the NCAA Championship for their 19th appearance in the team’s 21-year history.  

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