Jordan's hat trick leads Florida soccer


Published: Sunday, August 25, 2013 at 11:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 25, 2013 at 11:41 p.m.

Savannah Jordan likes to wear a multicolored headband when she is playing soccer.

Her game is proving to be just as colorful.

The freshman from Fayetteville, Ga., who scored a pair of second-half goals including the game-winner in Friday's 3-1 season-opening win over Florida Gulf Coast, recorded her first collegiate hat trick by scoring all three goals for No. 9 Florida in a 3-1 win over Oregon State Sunday evening before a Pressly Stadium crowd of 1,057.

Jordan is the first UF freshman in program history (1995-present) to score five goals in her first two matches.

“It was definitely exciting,” she said. “They were all really team-based goals.

“It gives me a lot of confidence but also pressure because I have to try and maintain that througout the season. I know I had a big weekend this weekend, opening up with that, and that's a lot to live up to.”

Jordan staked the Gators (2-0) to a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.

Junior midfielder Annie Speese made a nice run into the box and passed the ball to sophomore defender Claire Falknor, who nudged it to Jordan for a short-range blast from 4 yards out that found the right bottom corner of the net.

Jordan made it 2-0 in the 39th minute, taking control of a ball inside the box directly in front of the goal and firing another short-range shot into the net, with freshman forward Brooke Sharp credited with her second assist of the season.

The Beavers (0-2) cut the deficit in half with 23:08 left to play when UF failed to clear a bouncing ball in their end and Oregon State's Chelsea Buckland pounced on it and drilled a line drive into the back of the net from about 12 yards out.

UF managed to hang onto a one-goal lead until the 84th minute, when Jordan capped the evening with her third and final goal of the night, this one with assists from Speese, her second of the match, and fellow junior midfielder Havana Solaun.

Solaun started the play with a sharp header from the top of the Florida defensive box to Speese, who sent a long, arching pass down the center of the field.

Jordan outran her marking defender to the ball, got possession and finished it off with an 18-yard shot past hard-charging Oregon State keeper Audra Berneier-Larose, who was credited with four saves on the night.

“She's (Jordan) a natural finisher,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “We knew that when we were recruiting her, and she's just done a great job of taking care of her opportunities.”

The game was a defensive battle, with both teams struggling to find quality shots. The shots stood at just 2-all at the half, but a strong second-half surge by the Gators netted them a final 11-3 advantage.

Junior Taylor Burke got her first start of the season in goal for UF and made a key save in the 32nd minute following an Oregon State free kick from about 30 yards out.

The Beavers' Erin Uchacz got her head on it, but Burke was able to corral the ball while sliding to her right to protect UF's 1-0 lead.

The Gators were thrilled to come out of the weekend with a pair of wins.

“We lost some big-time players obviously; four out of the five went to play professionally,” Speese said. “But you know, we have a lot of talent on this team, and I knew people would step up.”

The loss ended a tough opening weekend for the Beavers, who were coming off a hard-fought 1-0 loss to No. 3 FSU in Tallahassee Friday.

The Seminoles are UF's next opponent, with the two instate rivals and top-10 squads squaring off on the Pressly pitch this Friday at 7 p.m.

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