With No. 16 Florida State in town for the Sunshine Showdown, the No. 10-ranked Florida soccer team looked to avoid another lackadaisical start. But the Gators didn’t take long before resorting to their old ways.
The Seminoles pulled ahead in the opening minute and never looked back, downing the Gators 2-0 on Thursday night in a physical battle at James G. Pressly Stadium.
“I think that was self-induced,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said about FSU’s opening goal. “For us to face a 2-0 deficit at halftime was a great learning experience, because I think it required us to make some changes at halftime in terms of our system that we played and I thought our team responded really well and really got after it.”
In the game’s opening 30 seconds, the Seminoles applied pressure to Florida’s backline, resulting in the ball being passed back to UF goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese. The junior inexplicably picked the ball up, leading to an indirect free kick for FSU inside Florida’s box, which Seminoles forward Deyna Castellanos converted to give the Seminoles the early advantage and the momentum.
Florida, coming off a 3-0 win last Sunday at Vanderbilt, regained its composure and began pressing FSU’s half, yet the UF attack couldn’t finish against a Seminoles defense that had allowed just nine goals all season entering the contest. Yet FSU (10-3) would have little trouble exposing Florida’s defense, as Gloriana Villalobos fed a perfect through ball to a streaking Dallas Dorosy, who placed the shot just out of Marckese’s reach to pad the Seminoles’ lead in the 24th minute.
“Just some nights you’re not going to find the back of the net, and it’s unlucky,” midfielder Gabby Seiler said. “I don’t think we were playing bad, it was just unfortunate and unlucky.”
Florida (11-3, 5-1 SEC) would spend much of the second half pressing in the attacking third, but the Seminoles defense held strong to preserve FSU’s first win over the Gators since 2013. The in-state rivals jostled back and forth throughout the match, resulting in a combined 29 fouls by the game’s conclusion. Florida’s spate of games in quick succession continues it travels to Auburn, Alabama, for a conference clash at 3 p.m. Sunday.
“I thought we played with a lot of urgency and intensity. We were unlucky to not at least get one back, and probably should have had two in the first half,” Burleigh said. “Sometimes there’s opportunities and we finish them, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. But I really liked our response in the second half.”