By Jim Harvin
For the first 60 minutes of Sunday’s soccer match between No. 7 Southern Cal and No. 22 Florida at Donald R. Dizney Stadium, things were pretty much dead even.
The final 30 minutes, however, belonged to the Trojans.
Forward Leah Pruitt scored on a well-placed shot from 20 yards out on the left side in the 66th minute to give Southern Cal a 1-0 lead, and the Trojans (4-0-1) put the game away with late goals from Penelope Hocking and Savannah Demelo in the 80th and 82nd minute, respectively, en route to a 3-0 win over the Gators (2-3-1) before a crowd of 684.
“It was tough giving up the goal that we gave up,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “That’s kind of a cross slash shot, but they all count, so credit Southern Cal. Then I think we had a little lapse in resilience at that point. I think that first goal really got us down a little bit.”
At halftime, Florida and Southern Cal each had taken just three shots and neither team had scored.
But by the end of the match, the Trojans owned a 13-5 advantage, outshooting Florida 10-2 in the second half and outscoring the Gators 3-0.
“They’re an amazing team,” UF defender Rachelle Smith said. “Their first goal was unbelievable. I don’t even know how they did that.
“The second goal, we weren’t on our toes, and the third goal was just up on our end. We gave it our all and gave it a lot of effort, but they definitely showed a little more. That’s something we need to work out as a team, and we’re definitely going to do better next game.”
Burleigh noted that it is still early in the season.
In addition, forward Deanne Rose was unavailable this weekend due to a commitment to the Canadian national team and another talented forward, junior Melanie Monteagudo, was sidelined with an ankle injury.
“In the end, we are going to control the controllables, and the controllables for us are continuing to give effort. We’ve got a lot of really good pieces, and we’ve just got to put more of them together at different times. I think it was great to see people coming off the bench bringing big contributions, and I think that’s only going to continue to grow. It’s all helping us in the big picture. So for us right now, control the controllables and make sure that we’re continuing to fight until the end, which I think we did.”
Sunday’s result marked the fourth consecutive match that the Gators have been shut out. Their last goal came in the 4-2 win over Florida Atlantic on Aug. 19.
That extended UF’s scoreless streak to 427 minutes. The previous record of 315 scoreless minutes came in the 1995 season, Florida’s first.
Next up, the Gators face their third straight top-10 team when they travel to Tallahassee to face No. 4 FSU at 7 p.m. Friday.
Volleyball: No. 4 Florida closed out the Bubly Invitational with a 3-1 win over the University of Central Florida (3-2).
Florida (3-2) battled back to take the first set, 26-24, but then dropped the second, 25-17. With the match tied 1-1, the Gators took control of the third and fourth sets, winning them 25-23 and 25-17, respectively.
Thayer Hall had a great day both defensively and offensively, recording a career-high 19 digs to go along with 20 kills. Through the first five matches of the season, Hall has accumulated a team-best 87 kills. For her performance this weekend, Hall was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Holly Carlton was the only other Gator in double-figure kills, notching 10 on the night. That paired with her five blocks helped earn her a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
Rachael Kramer and Taelor Kellum both pitched in nine kills and Allie Monserez posted a season-best 37 assists. Lauren Dooley made her first appearance on the court in a Gator uniform in the fourth set, where she recorded three blocks and a kill to clinch the victory for Florida.
Four Gators ended the match in double-figure digs Thayer Hall (19), Allie Gregory (17), Paige Hammons (15) and Allie Monserez (10).
The Gators are back in action on Friday in Flagstaff, Ariz. for the Lumberjack Invitational. Florida will play CSUN and host Northern Arizona on Friday, then finish out the invitational with Southern Illinois on Saturday.