SOCCER: No. 13 Florida Soccer Defeats UCF 2-0

ORLANDO, Fla. * Two first-half goals were all the No. 13 University of Florida soccer team (5-2) needed to claim a 2-0 win over UCF (2-6) Sunday afternoon in front of an UCF Soccer Field crowd of 478. It was fourth shut-out for the Gators this season.

Florida followed it game-plan, getting an early score at 6:15. Freshman Ameera Abdullah fought through her defender to get to the through ball served by senior Cherry Pickman. Abdullah brought the ball down the left side and into the box, chipping the ball for a far-corner goal on UF's first shot of the match. It was Abdullah's second collegiate score and her second consecutive Sunday with a goal.

"Cherry got the ball and cleared it back to Jasmine (Johnson). The ball came over (to me) and the girl jumped too early. She was running behind me so I tried to cross it, but it roofed her and went in," Abdullah said. "Kind of shot it, kind of crossed it, but I guess it either way, it went in."

Florida also scored on another match first, this time a corner kick. Abdullah served the corner, which junior Ananda Erickson headed in from the center of the goal at 35:44. It was Erickson's first collegiate goal and she celebrated with a little midfield break dance.

"The ball went right over and I realized that I had a head on it. I just snapped it in," Erickson said. "This is the kind of goal I would dream about as a kid. I used to score a lot of headers when I was younger. I was a little excited when I realized I scored a goal. I told Jasmine (Johnson) I would do a little break dance if I scored a goal, so I did it for her. It was exciting to score * I did it for my dad who was in the stands today."

Florida had a chance to go up 3-0 in the 71st minute as Abdullah's shot found the crossbar and the rebound shot went just wide. For the match, the two teams tied with 13 shots apiece.

Junior Brittni Goodwin made her first start in goal for the Gators this season. Jen Gardner, who has started the previous six matches, suffered a broken cheekbone in Friday's 4-2 loss to No. 16 Florida State. Goodwin was busy throughout the match, recording a Gator season-high nine saves. UCF goalkeeper Beth Harless turned in two saves Sunday afternoon.

UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh was happy to end this weekend of intra-state rival matches with a win.

"It was frustrating on our end because so many fouls were being called on us. We wanted to score early, which we did. We also had a couple of good chances today, like Ameera's shot off the crossbar. It was good to get the shutout," Burleigh said. "This was an emotional battle just because the history between the two teams (UCF defeated UF 3-2 in 2004 NCAA first round action). It was a tough weekend with the two intra-state rival matches so we were glad to come out on the good end today."

Next up, the Gators play host to their opening weekend of Southeastern Conference competition at the James G. Pressly Stadium. UF opens league play with Alabama on Friday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. and then meets Auburn on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1:30 p.m. The UF-Alabama match will be televised live on Sun Sports as part of "Friday Night Gators". The matches can be heard live on

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