Florida Gators soccer, cross country and women’s basketball were all in action this weekend coming off a Friday that saw softball, soccer and volleyball compete just one hour apart from another.
Just two days after defeating the Illinois State Redbirds in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championship at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, OH, the Florida soccer team (16-6-2, 8-1-2 SEC) fell in a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss to the Oregon State Beavers (14-7-1, 4-5 Pac 10). Having reached the round of 16 in 2006, 2007 and 2008, the Gators’ loss was the earliest exit for the team in four years. UF had multiple opportunities to score throughout the first 90 minutes, but a ball would not see the net until a turnover in the defensive third resulted in a through ball from Oregon State’s Rachael Axon to Melinda Ingalls for the goal. The Beavers’ first overtime win of the season ended the Gators season and hopes of a title.
The No. 3 women’s cross country team, on the other hand, found success this weekend, winning the NCAA South Region Championship on Saturday morning. Earning an automatic bid to the National Championship on Nov. 23, redshirt sophomore Rebecca Lowe led the way by winning the individual title while the Gators placed five runners in the top 17 and earned six All-South Region honors. Florida won their third regional title in program history, their first in over a decade (1998).
Men’s basketball was not the only Florida team to take their shot at the Stetson Hatters on the hardwood. The women faced them first on Saturday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, earning an 85-63 win to open the season. Leading the way for the Gators were freshman forward Jennifer George and redshirt sophomore transfer guard Jordan Jones, who combined for 38 points in their first career games in the Orange and Blue. Florida shot 50 percent from the field, grabbed 14 steals and was 7-of-18 from beyond the arc. Jones also led the team in assists (5) and George helped out on the boards (5) while seniors F Sharielle Smith (9) and G Steffi Sorensen (6) led the way in rebounds. The Gators will face the No. 15/12 Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Gainesville, FL.