Florida opens SEC play with 3-0 win at LSU


Special to Gatorsports.com

BATON ROUGE, La. – Florida’s soccer team opened Southeastern Conference play Thursday with a 3-0 win at Louisiana State.

Weather delayed the SEC opener. The lightning progressed into a downpour, causing a two-hour delay for the start at the LSU Soccer Stadium.

Florida coach Becky Burleigh was looking for the Gators (5-4, 1-0 SEC) to get on the board in the first 22 minutes of Thursday’s SEC opener. The Gators met that goal with 38 seconds to spare. Senior Tess Sapone’s lofted ball found the head of reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week Vanessa Kara. Her header scored at 21:22.

Kara scored again early in the second half. From just inside the Florida half, Sammie Betters saw Kit Loferski wide on the right sideline. Loferski caught up with the ball Betters sent and then jetted past her marker to bring the ball deep into the box. Kara’s outstretched foot just beat her defender at 47:16 to score on the cross from Loferski.

Loferski added a goal in the 62nd minute. From the center circle, freshman Ava Kuyken sent the ball to the right sideline for Loferski. She brought the ball into the box, created some space with a step over. Loferski then scored from 16 yards with a left-footed shot.

“I think it is never easy to go on the road in the SEC, get a shutout and score three goals,” Burleigh said. “I think we could have been a little more clinical in our finishing as we definitely had some great chances. But to endure a two-hour delay and to be able to come out with the urgency that we did, I’m really proud of our team.”  

LSU dropped to 2-5-1, 0-1.

Florida hosts Missouri at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.