By Jim Harvin, Correspondent
It was a case of good news and bad news for the Florida women’s soccer team Sunday.
The good news? A 15-yard blast off the foot of Lais Araujo that ended a school-record streak of 685 scoreless minutes over the last seven matches and tied Vanderbilt at 1-all with a little over 12 minutes left at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
The bad news came when the Commodores’ Paola Ellis put home a shot from five yards out with an assist from Caroline Saltmarsh with under three minutes remaining, extending UF’s winless streak to seven straight with a tough 2-1 loss.
Vandy’s eighth win in a row improved its record to 8-1, 1-0 while UF, which last won back on Aug. 19, fell to 2-6-1, 0-1.
“It was certainly a tough ending, especially on a set piece,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “I feel like we’ve spent a lot of time on defending set pieces, and I think we just had a little bit of a lapse there. Credit Vanderbilt. They took advantage of it.”
Vandy took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute on an unassisted goal from Kaylann Boyd from 30 yards out on the Commodores first shot of the match.
The score remained that way until the 78th minute when Araujo scored to knot the score, with an assist from forward Deanna Rose.
But 10 minutes later, Ellis put in her game-winner on a play that started out as a corner kick for the Commodores, then saw UF gain possession.
The Gators, however, were unable to clear the ball and it eventually found its way to Ellis, who banged home the winning shot from close range despite protests from UF that she was offsides.
Florida doubled the shots on Vandy, 12-6.
“We’ve been working hard to get a win, and we know it’s coming,” Araujo said. “We thought the girl was offsides, but it was a tough call.”
Burleigh vowed to keep battling despite some key injuries and some tough luck.
“Nobody’s happy,” Burleigh said. “You know everybody’s pretty frustrated, disappointed and angry. The bottom line is we feel that way, but we have more season. We’ve got to get past that and be productive. We have to take steps in the right direction because we have a game coming up on Thursday that’s not waiting for us.”
Defender Georgia Eaton-Collins feels UF is getting close.
“Obviously we’re disappointed to concede so late in the game, but we’re all positive to carry on working hard together,” she said. “We’ve got the goal now, so moving forward, we’ve got goals in us and the next game we’re going to win.”
The start of Sunday’s match was delayed by more than an hour because of lightning.
Next up, Florida hits the road for a match at Kentucky on Thursday at 7:30 before returning home to face LSU at 1 p.m. Sunday.