ORANGE BEACH, Ala. –Erin Emerson notched her first goal of the season in the 81st minute to pull the Rebels into a tie with top-seeded Florida at the SEC Tournament on Wednesday, but a Gator goal with 91 seconds left on the clock proved to be the difference.
Ole Miss (13-9) fell to Florida (15-4-1) by a score of 2-1 in the second round of the 2012 SEC Tournament.
Ole Miss’ Sara Coleman took a corner kick after a flurry of Rebel shots and sent it into the box where it was headed by Mandy McCalla over to Emerson on the far side. Emerson drilled the shot to tie the match for the Rebels in the 81st minute of play.
It was the first goal of the season for Emerson.
But the Gators responded in the 89th minute when Ole Miss was called for a foul at the top of the penalty box, setting up a free kick for the Gators. Erika Tymrak lined up the shot and sent it over the wall and into the net to put the top-seeded Gators on top for good.
“We just tried to play as hard as we could,” said Ole Miss head coach Matthew Mott. “It was a great finish by Florida on the second goal. Our kids came out and battled like crazy in the second half and I’m really proud of them.”
The Rebels weathered an early attack from the Florida offense as the Gators got off two quick shots before the Ole Miss defense would settle in and turn the stop into an attack by sending the ball quickly the other way.
Florida got on the board early with a goal in the 12th minute as Jo Dragotta took a pass in the box from Tessa Andujar and put it in the net to give the Gators the 1-0 lead.
Despite surrendering the early goal, the Rebel defense played well in the first half, turning back several Gator attacks to limit the damage and keep the game to a one goal margin at the break.
Ole Miss turned the tables to start the second half, possessing the ball on the Florida side of the field for much of the early stages of the second period and knocking the Gators back on their heels for several possessions. T
he Rebels pressed Florida offensively, getting a great opportunity with back-to-back shots from Olivia Harrison and Mandy McCalla, but both attempts just missed as the Florida keeper made a nice save on both plays.
The Rebels got another chance following a Florida hand ball that set up a free kick, but Souza’s shot was gathered up by Florida’s keeper yet again to keep Ole Miss looking for the shot that would put the Rebels on the board.
Emerson finally delivered that shot in the 81st minute to tie the match, but Florida reclaimed the lead and grabbed the win off the free kick just eight minutes later to advance and send the Rebels home from the tournament.
The Rebels will now wait for the announcement of the NCAA Tournament bracket on Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. CT to find out if the season will continue for Ole Miss.
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