Auburn Soccer Wins 1-0 Against Florida, Clinching SEC West Title
October 27, 2002
Goalkeeper Megan Rivera
AUBURN- The Auburn Tigers clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division Championship and have earned at least a share of the overall title with a 1-0 win over Florida here Sunday improving to 14-1-1, 6-1-1 SEC. The win over the Gators is also the first ever for Auburn over Florida in the school’s history.
“This is great being out-right SEC West Champions,” head coach Karen Richter said. “Last year was bittersweet tying with Mississippi State and this brings us one step closer to becoming SEC Champs out-right as well.
“We missed Niki (Schier) and Kristen (Stewart) today who are at home sick, but everyone who came off the bench did a great job and stepped up their level of play. Sarah Steinmann had a great individual effort today and the defense was very organized and did a great job not allowing Florida to step up.”
Coming off a tie with South Carolina on Friday, the Tigers entered the game ready to get back to their winning ways. In the first half, the team played good possession, bolstered by the excellent defending of Erin Hinson, Sandy Carnes, Jen Walters, and Ashley Eason. The four allowed Florida only one shot in the half.
In the 18th minute, Auburn’s attack stepped forward to get a goal. Sophomore Sarah Steinmann made a run down the left side to the endline, drawing two Florida defenders. With a few fakes and feints, Steinmann was able to gain enough space to send a low cross into the box. Jaqueline Schwarz ran to trap the ball, but then let it run past to wide-open Chrissy Culver. Culver wasted no time as she powered the ball towards the near post from 15-yards. Florida’s goalkeeper’s, Jordan Kellgren, diving efforts was futile as the ball sailed past her outreached hands and into the net.
In the second half, the Gators came out offensively looking to even the score. On several occasions, Florida had the Tigers pushed back towards the Auburn goal and scrambling to clear the ball. However, the Auburn defense stepped up to the challenge. Megan Rivera especially came through, making two saves in the second and securing her seventh shutout of the season. The sophomore now has the career record in shutouts, with 12, and tied for shutouts in a season, with seven, for Auburn.
“Our defense played really well today, but we knew that we needed to continue attacking as well,” Rivera said. “Today I just tried to stay organized, but keep my eye on the ball. They rushed the goal a few times, but our team did a great job of keeping them out of there.”
As a team, the Tigers also have broken the record for shutouts in a season with nine as Rivera has collected seven and freshman Laura Snell has one with the two splitting a shutout.
Auburn broke a few other records as they defended their SEC West Championship title. The win puts the team at 14-3-1 for the season, which are the most-ever wins in a season for the team. With a 6-1-1 record in the SEC, they also have claimed the most-ever wins in SEC action for a season.
The Tigers will attempt to win the SEC overall title Friday, Nov. 1 when they host Alabama in the final regular season game at 7:30 p.m. at the AU Soccer Complex.