Special to Gatorsports.com
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – No. 5 Southern California gave Florida soccer its first loss of 2019, claiming a 3-1 win Thursday in the nightcap of the Battle at the Banc competition at the Banc of California Stadium.
Thursday’s marked the first collegiate soccer competition at the Banc of California Stadium, which is the home of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC. The stadium opened in April of 2018.
Southern Cal (3-0) scored twice in a six-minute opening half span to take a 2-0 halftime lead. The first came in the 30th minute when Tara McKeown put in Alea Hyatt’s free kick off the scrum in front of the goal.
Arlie Jones put in the deflection off Savianna Gomez’s shot in the 36th minute to open up a 2-0 USC lead.
The first Gator (2-1) goal for senior Alex Stubblebine cut the Trojan’s lead late in the opening half. Kit Loferski’s pass found Stubblebine and her defender fell as Stubblebine moved toward goal above the center of the box. Stubblebine took advantage of the space to score on a 22-yard strike to the far post at 41:57.
McKeown opened up the second half scoring at 59:15 with her second goal of the night. Penelope Hocking sent a diagonal ball through the box that McKeown caught up to before hitting a right-footed shot at the top corner of the six-yard box.
“We gave up three goals on restarts – two throw-ins and one free kick. Throw-in are especially something that we work on so that was a little disappointing,” Florida coach Becky Burleigh said. “But thought in the second half we had some really good opportunities. Our press was effective against them. We were unlucky not to get one or two more.
“I think this is a game that we can really, really grow from. I’m glad we are playing this kind of schedule because it will really help us in the long run.”
Two starting Gators are not with the team in Los Angeles this week. Sophomore defender Georgia Eaton-Collins is with England’s Under-21 National Team for Nordic Cup play. Freshman midfielder Ava Kuyken is also back in England for a U19 national team camp.
UF continues play vs. top-five ranked teams Sunday at No. 4 UCLA. Match time is 8 p.m. ET at the Wallis Annenberg Stadium.