Special to Gatorsports.com
TAMPA – Ranked opponent. Record crowd.
The UF soccer team calmly handled those extras Sunday night, earning a 2-0 win over No. 18 South Florida in front of a Bulls women’s soccer record crowd of 2,011.
After a scoreless opening half, Deanne Rose received the ball at the top of the Bulls defensive third. Rose used her speed to create space as she moved left. The ball she sent across the mouth of the goal was tapped in by fellow junior Kit Loferski with her right foot at the far post at 51:19.
Just over five minutes later, Rose received the ball just inside the Bulls half. Rose then made her way toward goal, moving past her defender and then placing the ball to the left of the Bulls goalkeeper at 56:42.
“It was a good team effort,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “We played a lot of people today and got a lot of contributions from different players. We needed to go deep because playing on one day’s rest is really challenging.
“We have a really difficult schedule and we knew that heading into this season. It is really critical that we got these two wins under our belt because the schedule does not get easier. This is a big stretch for us right now. I’m excited with tonight’s result versus a ranked team who will do very well this season.”
The first clean sheet of the 2019 season needed a big Gator defensive effort and leading that effort was junior goalkeeper Susi Espinoza. Her eight saves tonight set her collegiate high.
Florida (2-0) heads west to face a pair of preseason top-10: Thursday at No. 5 Southern California. Match time is 11 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium and at 8 p.m. Sunday at No. 4 UCLA.