Oct. 17, 2008
AUBURN, Ala. -
Auburn's offense put as much pressure on an opponent's defense as possible without denting the back of the net in a 1-0 loss to No. 8 Florida on Friday night at the Auburn Soccer Complex. Auburn outshot Florida 5-2 in the second half but was whistled for five offsides on the night and could not come up with the much needed goal in a key Southeastern Conference matchup.
"This is a tough loss, a heartbreaker," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "We played outstanding but the difference was that we just couldn't finish. It wasn't anything that Florida was doing one way or the other, we just couldn't catch a break."
Auburn (7-7-2, 3-3-1 SEC) jumped on Florida (12-2-1, 7-0-0 SEC) from the get-go but was one step too fast for its own good three times in the first half, committing the offsides penalty in key scoring chances. The first was just over nine minutes in as Gabi Rivera was one-on-one with Florida goalkeeper Meghan Berlingo but she broke too early on Kara Kasten's pass, negating the run.
Moments later it was again Rivera getting set to go it alone against Berlingo but she was too quick to pass the Florida defenders on Chelsea Yauch's over-the-top pass from midfield.
Berlingo came up huge in the 23rd minute as Kasten ripped a shot from 25 yards out that was headed to the top of the net but Berlingo was able to leap up and punch the ball over the crossbar for her first save of the night.
Florida was able to light the scoreboard at 24:37 when Tahnai Annis collected the rebound of an Angela Napolitano shot that ricocheted off the crossbar right to Annis.
"We had the looks and we were getting the chances, we were just missing. Scoring a goal is one of the most difficult things in sports. Sometimes you need a break or a deflection. We felt like it was coming but unfortunately we gave up a controversial goal and we lose 1-0 instead of going to overtime," Hoppa said.
Auburn was right back in the Florida half of the field after the goal but again could not catch a break as Rebecca Howell had a shot blocked and then Kasten put one right on net but Berlingo was able to stop it momentarily. The rebound went right to the legs of Rivera, but with her back towards the goal and in the midst of falling down, she was unable to get a shot off into an unoccupied net before the Florida defense cleared it out.
Auburn kept up its relentless pressure in the second half with Katy Frierson scorching a shot from the top of the 18 while surrounded by three Florida defenders that Berlingo had to make a good read on to get the save in the 57th minutes.
Eight minutes later it was Rivera putting one into the mitts of Berlingo and just two minutes after that it was Frierson again challenging the Florida keeper.
With the clock winding down in the final minutes, Auburn was able to keep the ball inside its' attacking third but was unable to get one of its final two shots on frame.
Auburn returns to the pitch at 2:30pm on Sunday when it plays host to South Carolina, which fell 1-0 to Alabama on Friday night.