Nov. 3, 2005
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - Ronda Brooks' game-winning goal off of a corner kick midway through the second half and a solid defensive effort propelled Auburn to a 2-1 come-from-behind upset victory over Florida on Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the 2005 Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament. The sixth-seeded Tigers (7-11-1) will face seventh-seeded Kentucky (8-5-7) in the second round at 5 p.m. CT on Friday.
"Our team did a great job of keeping their composure," AU Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "We battled and battled them (Florida) all game long. The goal that Kristin Stewart scored was huge for us going into the locker room. We knew we needed that score to have a chance to come back."
Kara Kasten's hustle play midway through the second period created Brooks' game-winning opportunity as the freshman possessed a ball roughly 25-yards in front of the Florida net but had a rushing UF defender slide and knock the ball away. Fortunately for the Tigers, the ball sailed over the end line, resulting in an AU corner kick, their first of the game.
Courtney Crandell, who was subbed in at the time of the corner kick, served the ball in from the near corner and the ball found the leg of the awaiting Brooks, who was on the opposite side of the 6-yard box amidst a group of Florida players, and put in the game-winner.
"This was a big effort for all 22 players to come up with this win," Brooks said. "It's a huge game for us because Florida is such a big competitor for us."
Florida scored first in the game as KeLeigh Hudson took a pass from Brittni Goodwin and dribbled into the AU box, beating Anna Fiser on a one-on-one play for her sixth goal of the season.
Auburn responded with just over 25 minutes later as Kristin Stewart took a pass from Jenny Zarzour that took a high hop over Goodwin's legs with Stewart bearing down on her, allowing Stewart to bury her fifth goal of the season for a 1-1 tie.
The come-from-behind victory was just the second of the season for the Tigers, who are now 4-8 in one-goal games this season.
The victory was the third in the last five games for the Tigers against Florida.
The win advanced AU to the second round of the conference tournament for the first time since 2001, which is also the only time AU has played in the finals.
Kentucky advanced to the second round after a stunning 3-2 overtime victory over SEC West Champion Ole Miss. The Rebels had led 2-0 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game before the Wildcats stormed back for the winning, scoring the equalizer with 3:34 left on the clock.
Fans wishing to listen to the game can tune into WZMG 910 AM in the Auburn-Opelika area or on the internet at www.auburntigers.com.