UF soccer wins fourth straight
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 1:22 a.m.
Scoring first is starting to become a habit for the Florida soccer team.
Who: Arkansas at Florida
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Gainesville-area radio: AM-850
So is winning.
The 24th-ranked Gators scored the first goal for the third straight match and came away with their season-high fourth straight victory Friday night, claiming a 3-1 Southeastern Conference win over Ole Miss before a season-high crowd of 1,957 at Pressly Stadium.
“I think that helps us a lot because obviously chasing a game is different than playing from in front,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “It makes a huge difference on just our comfort level in terms of our composure.”
Sophomore midfielder and former Buchholz standout Havana Solaun did the honors this time for UF (7-3-1, 4-1), scoring the game's first goal in the 15th minute when she took a well-placed pass from junior defender Taylor Travis and snuck it past Ole Miss goalkeeper Kelly McCormick for her team-leading fourth goal of the season.
The outstretched McCormick managed to get her left hand on the ball, but could not keep it from deflecting into the bottom right corner of the net.
“This year we are trying to be the team that scores first and not have to chase,” Solaun said. “I thought we came out strong and executed what we wanted to. We kept the ball, played it around and stayed patient. It's always hard when teams pack the back but we stayed patient.”
Sophomore forward Jillian Graff, who made her first start of the season, made it 2-0 after halftime with an unassisted goal in the 52nd minute.
Graff's goal, her third of the year, came after she had passed the ball to fellow sophomore Annie Speese, whose shot was deflected by an Ole Miss defender. The ball went straight up in the air before bouncing right to Graff, and she rocketed the ball into the back of the net.
Although it looked like insurance at the time, it turned out to be the game-winner as just two minutes later, Ole Miss forward Rafaelle Souza tracked down a loose ball near the left corner of the 18-yard box and launched a left-footed shot that glanced off the far post and into the net to cut UF's lead in half.
Junior Caroline Triglia gave UF a two-goal cushion again, however, with 14:47 left to play when she nailed a shot from 20 yards out to make it 3-1.
Florida outshot the Rebels (9-3, 2-3) by a 14-2 margin, including an 8-1 edge in the opening half.
“I like the way we played,” Burleigh said. “I thought we limited their opportunities offensively. I think my only complaint is we just have to be a little bit more efficient with our scoring because we really could have put this game away earlier.”
The Gators will close out their season-long four-match homestand when they host Arkansas (5-5-1, 2-2-1) Sunday at 1 p.m.