Rivera Earns SEC Shutout Record In No. 28 Auburn's 1-0 Win Over No. 4 Florida
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Rivera Earns SEC Shutout Record In No. 28 Auburn's 1-0 Win Over No. 4 Florida

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September 26, 2004

 Action - Megan Rivera 092203

 Megan Rivera

Auburn -- AU goalkeeper Megan Rivera broke the all-time Southeastern Conference record for shutouts Sunday as the No. 28-ranked Tigers (7-2-0, 2-0-0) upset the No. 4 Florida Gators (7-2-1, 1-1-0) 1-0 in SEC action at the AU Soccer Complex.

"We were just missing on our offensive sets in the first half. But once we realized that we could get out there and play, we became more aggressive and got our chances," said head coach Karen Hoppa. "Coach Mott did a great job of pumping up our forwards at the half and I know that helped."
       
Sunday's win over the Gators was Rivera's fourth shutout this season as well as the 30th of her career, surpassing Nicole Williams of Georgia's previous mark of 29.5 set in 2000. Rivera saved four shots on the day, with two coming in each half.
      
"I am very proud, but I owe this one to my defenders and my teammates," Rivera commented on earning the record. "They are the ones that helped me achieve this record. I was pretty nervous on that shot. I think it even hit the crossbar. Last year we had such a heartbreaker down there and I am just glad for the win today."
       
"Megan has been playing very well. She is really coming on strong of late," Hoppa said. "Today she was cleaning up the balls behind the backs and did a great job for us. We know that the road to the SEC title goes through Florida. It is still very early in the season, but we are thrilled with the win today."
       
The win was the first ever for the Tigers over a top-5 ranked team and the second victory in school history over Florida.
      
In the first half, Auburn recorded a season-low shots as Florida out-shot the Tigers 4-0. Although the Tigers got chances, they could not get a shot off as the score stood at 0-0 at the break.
       
Early in the second half, senior Jenn Walters fired a penalty shot for AU's only score of the game at the 46:41 mark, just 1:41 into the second half. Chrissy Culver dribbled the ball down the field, creating a break-away before getting tripped up just in front of the UF goal by Ansley Myrick, which caused the penalty.
      
"I was pretty nervous when I saw that I was taking the PK," Walters said. "It was nice to put it in and we just needed to keep attacking after that and we did."
       
"When you have a situation like the penalty kick, you need someone with composure. And when the game is on the line, like it was in this situation, you want to give it to a senior," said Hoppa. "Jenn has played amazing all year and again today, she was all over the field. This shutout is a credit to her play as well."
       
Auburn will continue SEC play next weekend when it travels to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The Tigers and Commodores will begin their match at 5 p.m. EST in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday, Oct. 1 at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex. The Tigers will then travel to Lexington, Ky. for a 2 p.m. EST match on Sunday.