UF SOCCER

Gators put Bulls away after another long delay


Published: Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 11:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 11:24 p.m.

Sunday's soccer match between No. 8 Florida and visiting South Florida had a lot of the same ingredients as Friday's UF win over Miami, including an extensive weather delay and a two-goal performance by a Gator senior.

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Senior midfielder Annie Speese scored a pair of second-half goals on Sunday.

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And, just like the season opener at Pressly Stadium, Sunday's game — the first ever played at the Donald R. Dizney Lacrosse Stadium — also ended in a Florida win.

Senior midfielder Annie Speese scored a pair of second-half goals, both coming after a weather delay of an hour and 40 minutes in length, as Florida posted a 2-0 win over USF.

“I do think we are the veterans of rain delay now,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “I feel like we are the most experienced team in the country with rain delay, and it's not something that really even bothers us at this point.”

In fact, Sunday's delay seemed to revitalize the Gators (2-0), who dominated the first half, outshooting the Bulls 5-0, but went to the locker room after the first 45 minutes with the score 0-0.

USF (0-2) came out and dictated the action in the opening 10 minutes after intermission, getting off three shots and coming close to getting on the board first were it not for a couple of saves by UF senior goalkeeper Taylor Burke.

The game was later stopped by area lightning with 31:20 remaining, but the Gators came back from the long delay refocused, with Speese getting the game's first goal less than nine minutes after the restart.

Speese sent the ball into the back of the net from seven yards out to give the Gators a 1-0 lead on an assist from UF sophomore Savannah Jordan.

The score remained the same until Speese scored again, this time from 12 yards out with only 5:37 remaining, to record the fifth double-goal game of her career and give UF a 2-0 cushion.

“There was a lot of adversity today to deal with,” Speese said. “We came out kind of sluggish in the second half, then there was the rain delay. Obviously we've already experienced that, but to be in the middle of the game like that and kind of cut off our rhythm was kind of tough to deal with. I thought we did a really good job of staying calm and staying together as a team.”

Fellow seniors Tessa Andujar and Havana Solaun each picked up an assist on Speese's second goal, which came with the Bulls a player down after USF's Diana Saenz was sent off with a red card with 14:23 remaining in a game marked by a number of hard tackles and three yellow cards.

“This has always been a really hard game,” Burleigh said. “I don't think we have ever played them and it's been an easy game. Emotions always run high and it always seems to be a very physical game. I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job of staying out of that fray.”

Up next for the Gators are six straight road matches, beginning with contests at Oklahoma Friday and Oklahoma State Sunday.

UF's next home game is not until Friday, Sept. 26, against Georgia at Pressly Stadium.

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