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Friday, September 30, 2022

Florida defeats No. 2 South Carolina, advances to SEC Championship game

<p>Savannah Jordan dribbles the ball during Florida's 5-2 win over Iowa State on Aug. 19 at James G. Pressly Stadium.</p>

Savannah Jordan dribbles the ball during Florida's 5-2 win over Iowa State on Aug. 19 at James G. Pressly Stadium.

Savannah Jordan has been in a funk recently.

After a terrific start to the three-time All-American’s season that saw her score 12 goals in Florida’s first 13 matches, the senior has since hit an offensive drought, generating only one goal over the past five contests.

Jordan’s fortunes turned around on Friday night, however. She led the No. 15 Gators (14-4-1, 8-3 Southeastern Conference) to a 1-0 upset over the No. 2 South Carolina Gamecocks (18-1-1, 11-0 SEC) in the SEC Tournament semifinals in Orange Beach, Alabama.

The forward scored the only goal of the outing in the 19th minute after teammate Mayra Pelayo took a shot that deflected off South Carolina’s crossbar. The ball fell right in front of Jordan, who headed it past Gamecock goalkeeper Mikayla Krzeczowski for the decisive, game-winning goal.

Jordan now has 79 goals in her career. She is one of only 22 players in Division I history to reach that mark and is one of seven to do it since 2000.

UF and South Carolina were evenly matched throughout the entire game. The Gators put two more shots on goal than the Gamecocks did, despite being outshot 12-10.

Florida also shut down South Carolina’s top offensive threat, Savannah McCaskill. The 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year was held to a meager one shot on goal after putting up 42 through her first 19 matches this year.

UF has now shutout seven of its past 10 opponents. Goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese also moved herself into a tie for fourth among Gators goalkeepers for solo shutouts in a season with eight.

Florida will move on to their 17th appearance in the SEC Tournament Championship on Sunday. It will face Arkansas at 4 p.m. at the Orange Beach Sports Complex.

UF has won 11 conference tournaments in its 22-year program history. Its last postseason title came in 2015 when it defeated Texas A&M 2-1 in the championship match.

Contact Dylan Dixon at ddixon@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon.

Savannah Jordan dribbles the ball during Florida's 5-2 win over Iowa State on Aug. 19 at James G. Pressly Stadium.

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