By Jim Harvin, Correspondent
The No. 19 Florida women’s soccer team rebounded from a 3-2 road loss to Ole Miss on Thursday that ended a six-match winning streak with a solid 4-2 win over visiting Kentucky before a Donald R. Dizney Stadium crowd of 623 on Sunday.
UF improves to 9-5 overall and 5-1 in Southeastern Conference play while keeping the Wildcats (5-8-2, 0-6) winless in league play.
“We wanted to see a bounce-back from Mississippi from a result standpoint, and we had that,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “I thought our best part of that match was the beginning of the second half. We really have to work hard at being a little bit more precise with our execution at any other parts of the game. It wasn’t like we were unable to do that. We just weren’t very effective doing that.”
The Wildcats actually scored the game’s first goal at the 16:28 mark when Julie Grosso scored from nine yards out with an assist from Rebekka Danielson.
The Gators got the equalizer less than 10 minutes later when freshman Laney Steed scored her first goal of the season from 16 yards out at the 25:47 mark with assists by teammates Vanessa Kara and Parker Roberts.
Later, at the 38:33 mark, UF made it 2-1 on a 15-yard shot off the foot of freshman Ava Kuyken, her first goal of the season, with an assist from Alyssa Howell.
The Gators then made it 3-1 in the opening five minutes of the second half, with freshman Kouri Peace scoring from 10 yards out with an assist from Deanne Rose, then closed out their scoring on an unassisted goal from Parker Roberts at the 63:46 mark for a 4-1 lead.
Kentucky’s Jordyn Rhodes scored the game’s final goal some seven minutes later on a penalty kick to make the final margin 4-2.
“It’s been awhile, so it obviously felt really good just to help the team get another goal and put us up one more,” Peace said of her second goal of the season. “It gave us the energy we needed to come out in the second half and adjust to the attitude that we knew we had it for the rest of the game.”
UF owned a 16-6 edge in shots, highlighted by 11 shots after intermission. The Gators also had a 10-4 edge in corner kicks and committed more fouls, 14-10, while the Wildcats held a slim edge in saves, 4-3.
Burleigh celebrated her 52nd birthday with Sunday’s win.
Next up, Florida returns to The Diz to face Auburn at 7 p.m. Friday.