Georgia forward Haley Sorrell races a Furman player for the ball. The University of Georgia soccer team hosted Furman to beat them 2-0 on Sept. 22, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Georgia soccer defeated Florida after a goal scored in the final minutes of the game propelled the Bulldogs to a 1-0 victory over the Gators at the Turner Soccer Complex. The win marks only the third time Georgia has beaten Florida in its program’s history. 

In their regular season finale, the Bulldogs took on the Gators at home on Thursday night. The game remained scoreless for 88 minutes until forward Haley Sorrell slipped the ball past Florida’s goalkeeper Susi Espinoza into the goal to clinch the last-minute win for the Bulldogs. Sophomore midfielder Abby Boyan dribbled the ball up the field through defenders and found an open pass to her teammate, leading to her assist on Sorrell’s goal. 

“I’m just happy that I got to put it away for the team and finish it off there,” Sorrell said. “[I’m] glad we didn’t go into overtime, so it was an amazing feeling for sure.” 

Leading up to the goal, the match between the Bulldogs and Gators was physical but offensively unsuccessful, as neither team was able to finish its chance in the final third. Florida took six shots in the first half compared to Georgia’s three, and each team took five shots during the second half in the minutes leading up to Sorrell’s goal. 

“Florida’s not [going to] give you many opportunities and you need to take advantage of them when you [can],” head coach Billy Lesesne said. “I thought [Sorrell and Boyan] really delivered in the moment. Florida is just a very complete team, and they don’t give you many opportunities so when you get them you need to bury them, and Haley did.”

The Bulldogs’ 2019 regular season has seen greater success than in recent years, finishing 4-3-3 in the SEC compared to 2018’s final conference record of 1-6-3. Georgia’s regular season finale also capped off a five-game win streak. It’s the longest the Bulldogs have gone unbeaten since 2013. 

“[I’m] incredibly proud of this team,” Lesesne said. “They’re growing in front of our eyes and just building confidence. This team refuses to give up, and I love the way they’re relentless.”

With the win, Georgia is headed to Orange Beach, Alabama, for the SEC Tournament that runs Nov. 3-10. Georgia has now earned 15 conference points and will learn its seeding for the conference tournament once all games conclude. 

“It’s a huge morale booster,” Sorrell said. “I think we can go in with a lot of confidence and self-assurance that we really can go as far as we want to.”

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