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Monday, June 24, 2024

The electricity that filled James G. Pressly stadium early Sunday afternoon had dissipated and turned into anxiety as the final minutes of the Gators' match against No. 9 FSU ticked away.

But with one pass from freshman Karly Findorff to KeLeigh Hudson in the 83rd minute, that anxiety turned to excitement.

Hudson's shot attempt from 8 yards out found the back of the net, giving the Gators a 2-1 lead and, a few minutes later, the win.

"I was making a run and saw open space," Hudson said. "I was able to put that through-ball from Karly to the far post. I was excited to put it in, but I knew there was still plenty of time left. It really didn't sink in that it was the game-winner until there was about 10 seconds left."

It was the No. 14 UF soccer team's second victory against an in-state rival this weekend as the Gators (3-1) handed South Florida a 4-0 loss on Friday night.

Despite picking up two wins this weekend, UF may have still suffered a net loss. Junior forward/midfielder Ameera Abdullah may be out for an extended period of time after colliding with Bulls goalkeeper Mallori Lofton-Malachi in the 7th minute of Friday's game. The crowd watched in silence as the 2006 NSCAA third-team All-American clutched her left ankle after the collision. Abdullah had to be helped off the field by trainers.

Coach Becky Burleigh held Abdullah out for the remainder of the USF match and the FSU match, ending her string of 30 consecutive starts. The team awaits X-ray results on what it is calling a left peroneal tendon strain.

"We're not sure right now how long she'll be out," Burleigh said. "She got X-rayed today, and we're waiting on those to come back. Then we'll find out where she is."

Senior Ashley Harris picked up the offensive slack. Harris' energy seemed to provide an early spark for UF, and her two second half goals on Friday shut the door on a possible Bulls' comeback.

That energy carried over into Sunday's match as Harris scored on a header 15 minutes into the match that Burleigh could only describe as "outstanding."

"I basically knew what I had to do," Harris said. "I think I may have surprised some people by scoring some goals.

"It's just pride. Working hard on whatever you do. Everyone's going to mess up, but you have to keep trying and bringing intensity."

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The Seminoles didn't have a problem with intensity. FSU attempted more shots against the Gators than any opponent to this point, and after Mami Yamaguchi's 20-yard free kick in the 61st minute got past UF goalkeeper Katie Fraine, it looked like the teams would have to settle for a tie.

"She got a nice shot off a set kick, but we were never worried," Fraine said. "There was still plenty of time to pull out a win.

"And it's always nice to pull out a win against a ranked in-state rival."

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