UF soccer continues hot streak into Senior Day
The Florida soccer team is definitely trending upward at just the right time.
Led by two first-half goals from freshman forward Savannah Jordan, No. 8 Florida defeated No. 25 LSU, 3-0, Sunday on Senior Day at Pressly Stadium.
The win was the fourth in a row for the hard-charging Gators (12-3-1, 6-2), matching their season-high, and, coupled with Friday's 3-0 win over No. 18 Kentucky, completed UF's first six-point (two wins) SEC weekend of the season.
“I think for two games in a row, we sort of took the will from the other team, and against good teams that's hard to do,” coach Becky Burleigh said. “We just did that against two very good teams.”
As a result, Florida, the defending SEC champion that began the weekend tied for fifth place in the league, is now tied for second with Kentucky (12-3-1, 6-2) with 18 points.
Both teams are just three points behind league-leading Texas A&M (12-3-1, 7-1) with three matches remaining, with the Aggies scheduled to visit Pressly Stadium Sunday afternoon at 3 for UF's final home match of the regular season.
“This is huge for us,” said junior midfielder Annie Speese, who capped the scoring by connecting on a 20-yard free kick in the 61st minute following an LSU foul. “Coming off last weekend, I think we're starting to get some momentum, and hopefully we can continue that going forward.”
Jordan, who spent last week training with the U. S. National U-18 Team in southwest Florida before rejoining the Gators Friday, staked UF to a 1-0 lead in the game's 22nd minute when she took a pass from fellow freshman Pamela Begic and put the ball in the back of the net from 12 yards out on what was UF's first shot of the match.
Jordan made it 2-0 in the 39th minute with an unassisted blast from 16 yards out for her SEC-leading 15th goal of the season, the No. 3 all-time single-season mark for a UF freshman behind Andi Sellers (23, 1997) and Abby Wambach (19, 1998).
“It was great,” said Jordan. “I think our team has been playing great these last couple of games, moving the ball really well. It just opened up for me today, and I was excited to get the goals.”
Speese's second-half goal was her first of the season and 15th of her career.
Florida's four seniors — Caroline Triglia, Maggie Rodgers, Taylor Travis and Haley Reeb — were honored in a pregame ceremony. All four not only played, but finished out the game's last 25 minutes on the pitch together.
“I'd like to give a special shout out to the seniors,” Burleigh said. “They've left a really big legacy for this program, and we were happy to send them out on a positive note.”
The Gators are at Tennessee Friday (7 p.m.) before returning to host Texas A&M Sunday, then close out the regular season at Georgia Oct. 31.