By Jim Harvin, Correspondent
The Florida women’s soccer team scored a pair of first-half goals to take a 2-0 lead and was never really threatened en route to posting its sixth consecutive victory, 3-1, over No. 12 Texas A&M before a Donald R. Dizney Stadium crowd of 676 Sunday.
UF improved to 8-4 overall and 4-0 in SEC play while the Aggies slipped to 9-2-2, 3-1.
“It’s a big win for us,” coach Becky Burleigh said. “Texas A&M is clearly one of the top teams in the league and has been for some while, and for us to get this win is a really big confidence booster and justs another step for us.”
The Gators didn’t take long to get on the scoreboard as redshirt junior forward Kit Loferski was taken down inside the A&M box while making a run at the goal in the game’s seventh minute, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to UF.
Junior Madison Alexander stepped up to take the shot and buried her effort to give UF a 1-0 lead with 38:54 left in the first half. It was Alexander’s first goal of the season and 10th of her career.
“I just took a good deep breath because I knew that it was really important to get an early goal,” Alexander said. “It changed the momentum of the game when I put it in the side netting.”
UF senior Vanessa Kara made it 2-0 with a goal from 16 yards out at the 17-minute mark with assists from teammates Cassidy Lindley and Sammie Betters, and that’s how it stood at intermission.
Kara later made it 3-0 with a shot from eight yards out at the 66:05 mark of the match, with assists from Betters and Parker Roberts, before A&M’s Taylor Zeimer closed out the scoring with an unassisted goal at the 73:38 mark as the Aggies avoided the shutout.
The two goals raised Kara’s team-leading total to eight for the season.
“It does feel like things are clicking,” said Kara, a senior transfer from Drexel who registered her third double-goal match of the season. “I honestly think we haven’t really put too much stock in that. We just keep talking about the next game, and that’s the most important one. I think that’s a really good mentality for us.”
The Gators join South Carolina as the only two SEC teams still unbeaten after four matches. Both have 12 points in the standings.
“It’s kind of a testament to this team of how well we’re doing right now,” said Betters. “Once we picked up some momentum, we could keep going. Once you get that positive momentum, it’s easy to feed off that and gain the confidence that we have the talent. It’s just being able to get it done.
“We work hard every week in practice, so to be able to come out on the field and show it is amazing.”
Next up for UF is a road match at Ole Miss on Thursday.