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Gators repeat as SEC Tournament champions

1789 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: Florida Athletics

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- The Florida Gators have become back-to-back SEC Tournament champions with a 2-1 win over Arkansas. 

The 2016 SEC Championship game featured a rematch of the 1996 event, a game in which the Gators bested the Razorbacks in overtime.

This year's match began as a back-and-forth affair with both teams' leading point scorers, Savannah Jordan and Claire Kelley, making several attempts to get their teams on the board.

The Gators made their mark first with Jordan notching her 80th career goal in the game's 29th minute. Jordan fielded a pass from Melanie Monteagudo and spun around an Arkansas defender to finish with a goal past Cameron Carter, putting the Gators up 1-0.

Arkansas' best chance of the half came in the 42nd minute when Katie Kienstra executed a beautiful flip throw-in which bounced in front of the net to teammate Jessi Hartzler. Hartzler attempted to finish with a header but Gators goalie Kaylan Marckese punched the ball away to preserve the Florida lead entering the half.

After being held scoreless for much of the match, Alexandra Fischer capitalized on a Florida turnover in the 79th minute to put the equalizer on the board for the Razorbacks. Marckese's clear attempt was stifled by Fischer who followed through on the rebound to fire the ball past the out-of-position Florida goalie.

The Gators attempted to end the game in regulation with a last-second shot by Mayra Pelayo going just wide of the net, sending the game to overtime.

Both teams gave their all in overtime but it was the Gators who came out on top with a golden goal by Brooke Sharp. The Gators offense came alive with a minute remaining in the first overtime as Meggie Dougherty Howard chipped a pass to Sharp in front who finished with the header past Carter.

The overtime victory earns Florida its 12th SEC Tournament title.

All-Tournament Team

Kiana Clarke, Auburn

Casie Ramsier, Auburn

Savannah McCaskill, South Carolina

Chelsea Drennan, South Carolina

Lindsey Mayo, Arkansas

Kayla McKeon, Arkansas

Hannah Neece, Arkansas

Kristen Cardano, Florida

Meggie Dougherty Howard, Florida

Savannah Jordan, Florida

Gabby Seiler, Florida

Tournament MVP

Meggie Dougherty Howard, Florida