ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Florida advances to the SEC title game with a 1-0 shutout over No. 1 seed South Carolina, handing the Gamecocks their first loss of the 2016 season.
The Gators took the lead in the 19th minute when Florida forward Savannah Jordan capitalized on a deflection off the crossbar. Sophomore Mayra Pelayo's shot on net was high off the crossbar but Jordan was positioned well in front to field the rebound and finish with the header past Mika Krzeczowski.
South Carolina got a chance on goal in the 35th minute as freshman Elexa Bahr chipped the ball into the back of the net but a foul before the shot negated the Gamecocks' chance.
Jordan came out strong in the second half, firing a shot on goal in the 58th minute that was caught by Krzeczowski. Gators midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard followed up on Jordan's momentum in the 61st minute with a shot that sailed just wide of the net.
South Carolina saw their best chance of the match in the 61st minute when SEC player of the year Savannah McCaskill flew into the Florida zone on a breakaway. McCaskill attempted to find teammate Sophie Groff in front but Groff couldn't connect on the pass, allowing the Gators to preserve their 1-0 lead.
The physicality of the match came to a head in the 68th minute when South Carolina's Claire Studebaker and Florida's Kristen Cardano were both awarded yellow cards after a scrum over the ball.
The Gamecocks added a flurry of shots in the closing minutes of the match but never found the back of the net.
The Gators return to the SEC Championship game for the sixth time in the last seven years. Florida will face the winner of today's second semifinal, either 3-seed Arkansas or 2-seed Auburn. The Championship game will be Sunday, November 6th at 4 PM ET on ESPNU.