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Florida, No. 8 Georgia produce 1-all soccer tie

Special to Gatorsports.com

Florida's soccer team tied No. 8 Georgia 1-1 in double overtime Sunday at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

The Gators (0-0-1) had the start of their season delayed because of COVID-19 results, while Georgia (1-0-1) defeated defending SEC champion South Carolina. 

Ssenior Deanne Rose put the Gators on the board in the 12th minute. From just outside the center circle from the UF half, junior Georgia Eaton-Collins sent a ball into space above the Bulldog box. Rose tracked it down and opened up space as she moved into the box. Her right footed seven-yard shot beat the sliding UGA goalkeeper to score at the far corner.

Georgia's Chole Chapman intercepted a pass between Gator defenders and then headed toward goal. She won the duel with UF's goalkeeper, tying the match in the 41st minute.

"Given the situation where it was difficult to get momentum going into this game, I think we competed hard," Florida coach Becky Burleigh said. "We need to improve upon our technical ability and tactics and build momentum in a real week leading up to a game. That's going to be so nice. That was our very first game in a very long time."

Florida's Susi Espinoza recorded four saves Sunday, including a pair of key second-half stops. UGA's Kayla Bruster shot from just wide of the goal in the 63rd minute was deflected out of goal by Espinoza. Just over 10 minutes later, Abby Boyan took the return pass and was moving through the box. Espinoza closed down space and used her outstretched right hand to knock down Boyan's shot.

"After 14 days of quarantine, you can definitely feel it in the second half and in the two overtimes," Espinoza said. "For the second half, keeping a clean sheet gave us the opportunity to score and potentially win." 

Florida continues home play next Sunday versus No. 15 Alabama. In its last outing, Alabama tied Mississippi State 1-1 2OT on Friday in Starkville, Miss. Sunday's match time is set for 5 p.m. and airs live on the SEC Network.